Describe factors within your daily environment that are supportive to you, including the ways in which these factors provide support. Describe what you see as the benefits of these supports. How difficult would it be to exist without these supports? What impact would they have on your life if they were gone?
Coworkers that I love to be around
First and foremost, this is the best support a person can have. If you don’t like who you spend your most time with – because honestly, you spend more time with the people you work with than almost anyone else – you’re not going to feel happy or supported at work. In my company, “family” isn’t just a value we say we have, it’s a culture and a lifestyle. We are all family and friends and truly care about one another. On those rare days that I find it hard to get it together, have a hard day or have something going on in my life, it’s these people who notice and care before any other. You are never more than an ask away from having the help and support you need whether it be big things, little things, work things or life things.
I have an Assistant Director that comes to work happy and ready to work, who is eager to learn and enjoy to have fun with us – not taking life so seriously is something that is important to me. We should be able to sit back and enjoy our day, take a break and make life fun if we can. I have a Program Director on the Martial Arts side of our business who keeps us laughing and is always willing to help. I have upper management who work along side of me instead of above me and show appreciation and friendship every day…and equally like to take a break and enjoy ourselves. I laugh so hard when I’m working – and that’s important. I have a team of staff that is well-trained, has amazing personalities and are supportive to us because we take the time to support them. Those people, with these kinds of relationships are always going to be there for you when you need support.
My Work Bible
Many years ago, as I started my training as an Assistant Director, we were given a list of items it was essential to know and learn so that anyone would be able to do anything to run the company if need be. I took that list, and went for it! I made a binder with a tab for each header such as Finance/Accounting, Labor/Payroll, Receivables, Curriculum, etc. Each sub item in that list or task that needed to be learned, I went for it, documenting each step so that I can refer back to it. I typed these steps up, and until I didn’t need that page in my binder as a crutch, I kept working at it.
Now, we don’t always need to do everything all the time and every day. We share responsibilities, so if someone who typically does payroll is out and payroll needs to get done, it doesn’t matter – because each step is written out so that it can get done. As I settle in to my new center, there are some things I haven’t had to do for years! Getting back into the practice of these and using my Binder has been essential! I will absolutely begin updating and using this to continue my Assistant Director’s training so that hopefully she feels as prepared and supported as I do with this resource!
EVERYONE knows that I would be lost without my planner. It’s full of lists, stickers, notes, schedules – anything and everything I need. And it looks darn cute, too. It’s a to-do list and my personality all layed out on a page in a calendar.
If it’s not in my planner, it could get missed. My planner is one of my single most important items to support m and keep me organized. Another Director recently asked me, “What would you do if that thing got stuck in a burning building?” and I said, I’d go back in and get it.
It’s so important to me, and has been such a successful tool to support me in my job that when my friend was promoted to Director of her site, I bought her one as a gift, and now she is just as addicted as I am. My Assistant Director and a number of other Directors have the same planners now and all came to the dark side 🙂
A challenge that I chose to imagine was that I am understaffed or run into an issue with introducing new staff – hypothetically (and even hopefully!) as my new center ramps up enrollment, finding a balance and planning for introducing new staff will be essential. Three things could potentially happen:
- Enrollment grows steadily and predictably which allows time for adequate hiring including phone interviewing, live interviewing, working interviews and proper training. Each candidate or interested party will be able to go through the same rigorous process as the inaugural staff, and the same in depth training. Additionally, the working interviews and training period will help match personalities and integrate the new staff seamlessly, all while not maintaining extremely high quality.
- Enrollment grows rapidly and quickly. We end up needing the full time staff, both leads and assistants, on a full schedule sooner rather than later. The remaining positions we have open, and primarily part time positions become in high demand and we must watch out so that we don’t spread current staff out too thinly and cause stress. We hire, but can find ourselves cutting corners in order to get new staff in the classrooms sooner rather than later and must be extremely cautious of balancing our needs and our staff’s needs.
- We struggle finding staff that fit, both quality and personality, of our current team in either time-line above. We risk making hires that could disrupt both the quality and the camaraderie of the current team based on what is available.
The supports I feel that I would need to navigate this process are the following:
My Assistant Director
I have recently delegated all phone interviews to my Assistant. This will not only help ensure that this important step does not get missed, but that she hones in on some of her interviewing skills while doing so, which will make her more skilled during live interviews. One way she would be able to further support me, is accountability in calling and following up on references so that we can be sure we are making well-informed hiring choices now that more pressure to fill the spots based on need will be put upon us.
My Teaching Staff
I will need the support of my teaching staff for a number of reasons. First, I will need them to be honest and flexible. They have proven their flexibility and willingness to help the whole team throughout the past few months. Hopefully, as we all settle in to their own routines and in their own shifts and classrooms, we keep this team-centered vibe. I look forward to hearing their honest opinions on working interviews and getting feedback from them so that we can make the most team-oriented hiring choices – it is not always about the quality of a hire, but also about their fit. I would pass on someone skilled but who could not fit into our culture or team in order to preserve our work environment and morale. Their continued flexibility would be needed in any of these situations and my priority would then be keeping their morale high and appreciations higher.
The Hiring Packet we designed and I have was designed for a reason! I must make it clear to myself and others that all pages and portions of the hiring timeline must be checked off so that we are making the right, consistent informed decisions.
New Hire Orientation
The same situation as above…the New Hire Orientation schedule is systematically designed to provide the best training and on boarding we can possibly do, as well as keep things organized so that nothing falls through the cracks. Deviating from this schedule and plan will surely lead to errors, miscommunications and a disconnect for the new employee.
Over the past few months, I have been able to support the other centers since I was training and then had staff available to help them through the summer months, when they were understaffed or in a pinch. It has not been uncommon for me to have 4-6 staff loaned out for the past 8 weeks. It would be my hope that if I were in need, that the other Directors whom I was able to support would be able to find a way to lend a hand the same way I was able to support them.