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Understanding Your Nanny’s Annual Performance Review

Understanding Your Nanny’s Annual Performance Review

When you hire a nanny, you’re not just their employer; you’re also effectively the human resource department for your household. Just as traditional employers do, you should prepare for your nanny’s annual performance review, which should be held at the one-year mark of their employment and every year thereafter.

The purpose of the review is twofold. First, there is the performance evaluation, where you review your nanny’s job skills and talk about whether your expectations were met. Second, there’s a wage review, where you will set the compensation level for the coming year. It may sound like a lot, but we’ll explain everything you need to know to help the review process go smoothly.

The performance review

The performance aspect of the review gives you the chance to evaluate your nanny’s work. Think of it as a conversation where you get to praise your nanny for what is being done well, and inform them of potential areas where you would like to see improvement. As it is a conversation, your nanny should also have an opportunity to voice any concerns and offer suggestions.

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Here are some areas to consider:

  • General Performance Issues: This is where you can talk about your nanny’s general performance and go over topics such as attendance, tardiness, cleanliness, and safety.
  • Initiative: If you expect your nanny to show initiative (this may not be important to some), talk about whether they are being appropriately proactive. This can apply to researching things like play dates, outings, or children’s parties. The main focus should be whether your nanny has met your expectations in the area of initiative, and if not, what can be done to improve.
  • Job Responsibilities: There are two aspects to this subject. First, discuss whether your nanny has met responsibilities during the last year. Then talk about any new responsibilities that will come with your child’s developmental changes in the coming year. This may involve things like potty training, bottle weaning, and anything else you might anticipate.
  • Discipline: Are you and your nanny on the same page regarding discipline style? This is an important topic and one to explore in-depth. Your nanny needs to understand your expectations when it comes to disciplining your child, and be aware of anticipated issues that may arise during the next year. For example, if your child is inclined to throw tantrums, your nanny should know how you would like this behavior to be handled.
  • Communication: This is the time to assess whether your communication system is working. You may prefer to keep an electronic record of things like feeding and nap times, while others may use a written list or a daily conversation. There’s no right or wrong way, provided it facilitates good communication.
  • Life Changes: Family life is always changing. Whether you’re anticipating the arrival of a new baby, planning on moving to a larger house, looking forward to getting a pet, or sending your child off to preschool for part of the day, changes in your life and your routine are a given. Go over expected changes with your nanny so you can both prepare and make plans.
  • Developmental Issues: Your nanny spends a lot of time with your child. Let your nanny know you value observations and opinions, and encourage them to talk to you if they have any concerns about your child’s behavior. Compare notes and have your child evaluated if necessary.

Salary increases: What you need to know

Along with the performance review, the annual review is also the time to set a salary for the coming year. Discussing a raise and any other change in compensation will be part of their contract renewal.

Coming up with the right salary increase may seem overwhelming, but the task is more manageable when broken down into two factors: the merit increase and the cost of living increase.

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Merit increases

The merit increase is based on your evaluation of your nanny’s performance since the last evaluation, or since employment started. The common amount of the merit increase is between 0% and 5% of the nanny’s base salary. Zero is reserved for a nanny who only provides the bare minimum (in which case it may be time to consider whether you want to keep this nanny on), while 5% is reserved for the nanny who regularly surpasses your expectations, performing tasks not included in the job description.

Other considerations as to whether your nanny deserves a larger raise include changed circumstances such as a new child added to the family, or any other situations that require your nanny to regularly go above and beyond the call of duty. This increase should be in addition to the raise mentioned above.

Cost of living increases

Along with the merit increase comes another pay raise: the cost of living increase. This raise, which is typically 2% of the nanny’s annual salary, covers inflation as well as the increase in nannies’ salaries in your area.

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Delivering the evaluation

Now that you know which factors to include in your evaluation, we’ll explain how to do it. If you follow these helpful tips, it will go a long way toward making your performance evaluation a success.

Planning the evaluation

Plan to meet with your nanny privately. Once you’ve established the date and time of the meeting, let your nanny know a few days in advance. Give your nanny a copy of a self-evaluation form and ask for it to be returned completed a day before the meeting. Prior to the meeting, review both your own written evaluation and your nanny’s self-evaluation.

Plan your discussion in advance. Topics should include:

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  • The fundamental duties spelled out on the performance evaluation
  • Performance goals and standards
  • Recognizing strengths and accomplishments
  • Determining how to improve areas needing improvement
  • Finding areas where new skills may be needed, determining a strategy for developing them (education, training, etc.), and discussing how the nanny can accomplish these goals (and how you will help).

During the evaluation

Finally, here’s how to put it all together during the evaluation:

  • When you meet, review the self-evaluation. Talk about areas of agreement and any differences of opinion.
  • Discuss your performance evaluation, starting with the nanny’s strengths.
  • Review areas that need improvement. Ask how performance can be improved and give any suggestions you might have.
  • Show genuine interest in your nanny’s progress.
  • Close the evaluation when all topics have been covered and the nanny has given their feedback.
  • Ask your nanny to sign the evaluation form.

Moving forward

If you follow our suggestions, chances are you’ll have everything in place to create a harmonious work situation for your nanny. In the end, communication is the most important component to creating a good relationship and keeping your household running smoothly.

Featured photo credit: gpointstudio via shutterstock.com

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Kathleen Webb

Co-Founder, HomeWork Solutions

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Published on March 13, 2019

What Makes A Great Place to Work Whilst Pregnant

What Makes A Great Place to Work Whilst Pregnant

Among women who had their first child in the early 1960s, just 44% worked at all during pregnancy. The latest figures show that 66% of mothers who gave birth to their first child between 2006 and 2008 worked during their pregnancy.[1]  It also showed that about eight-in-ten pregnant workers (82%) continued in the workplace until within one month of their first birth which has vastly increased from 35%. It is clear to see form the statical trends that more women are choosing to continue working through, and late into, pregnancy.

Unlike other developed world countries, the USA does not mandate any paid leave for new mothers under federal law,[2] though some individual employers make that accommodation and it is mandated by a handful of individual states. Finding what makes a great workplace whilst pregnant can alleviate stress and provide more stability for you and your family. 

In this article, you will discover exactly the best places to work whilst pregnant.

How Difficult Is It to Work Whilst Pregnant?

Many people strive to find and attain good jobs. For pregnant women, however, that process is often especially challenging. After all, you’ll face extra obstacles that are unique to expectant mothers.

If you are pregnant and need a job, then you’re definitely not alone. You are also not alone if you’re already employed and want to find a new job that is more family-friendly. Changing jobs while pregnant is something that many women consider, especially when they realise that their current positions may not be suitable for pregnancy or offer the benefits or flexibility that they’ll soon need. 

Getting a job while pregnant may not be the easiest thing in the world to do, but it is possible.

You can look for employment opportunities that don’t require too much physical exertion and that won’t cause you much emotional stress. Also, look for jobs that come with the chance to work flexible hours, offer good medical benefits, allow you to take time off as needed, and don’t require a long commute. In addition, it’s obviously wise to consider avoiding jobs that may expose you to toxins, people with communicable illnesses, or other physical hazards.

The Pre-Natal Mamma’s Needs

During pregnancy, there are many mental and physiological changes that a woman will go through. In understanding those changes, it is more clear which types of jobs and workplaces are more suited to you as a pregnant woman. 

During pregnancy, the birth of your baby and the postnatal period, changes in the hormones in your body can have an effect on your emotions during pregnancy. These hormones and the changes can cause joy, fear, surprise and anxiety all of which can be assisted with necessary support and talking. 

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The physiological changes are more varied according to each trimester:

1st Trimester (0-13 weeks)

In the first few weeks following conception, your hormone levels change significantly. Your uterus begins to support the growth of the placenta and the fetus, your body adds to its blood supply to carry oxygen and nutrients to the developing baby, and your heart rate increases.

These changes accompany many of the pregnancy symptoms, such as fatigue, morning sickness, headaches, and constipation. During the first trimester, the risk of miscarriage is significant.

2nd Trimester (13 – 27 weeks)

While the discomforts of early pregnancy should ease off, there are a few new symptoms to get used to. Common complaints include leg cramps and heartburn. You might find yourself growing more of an appetite, and your weight gain will accelerate. 

3rd Trimester (28 weeks – birth)

Travel restrictions take effect during the third trimester. It’s advised that you stay in relatively close proximity to your doctor or midwife in case you go into labor early. The baby is growing bigger and stronger; the kicks can be quite powerful and your abdomen is becoming larger and heavier.

Stretch marks may develop if they haven’t earlier in the pregnancy. Braxton-Hicks contractions- which are usually perceived as painless tightening can be felt. Lower back pain is very common and there may be more pelvic pressure and with this more frequent urination. 

Swollen legs and feet are very common as are increased fatigue, interrupted sleep and a reduced ability to eat a full meal at one sitting.

4th Trimester (Post birth onwards)

Your baby’s fourth trimester starts from the moment she’s born and lasts until she is three months old. The term is used to describe a period of great change and development in your newborn, as she adjusts to her new world outside your womb. There are many adaptations, recovery and rest that you and your baby need through this trimester whether you have a natural or c-section birth.

All of these considerations need to be in mind when looking to find a great workplace whilst pregnant — whether you’re looking to ask for more support from your current workplace, find a new job or enter employment. 

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Next, let’s look at the factors that would define the opposite; somewhere you shouldn’t look to work whilst pregnant.

How to Spot The Worst Workplaces to Work Whilst Pregnant

1. Non-Negotiable Heavy Lifting

Do you have to lift, push, bend, shove, and load materials all day? If you do, many experts believe you should ask for a job reassignment or quit by the 20th week of pregnancy.

2. Toxic Environments

The list of jobs that involve dangerous substances is miles long. Consider the artist who works with paint and solvents all day, the dry cleaner who breathes in cleaning fumes, the agricultural or horticultural worker who works with pesticides, the photographer who uses toxic chemicals to develop pictures, the tollbooth attendant who breathes in car and truck exhaust, or the printer who works with lead substances.

3. Proximity to People with Communicable Illnesses

Working with or exposure to certain bacteria, viruses, or other infectious agents could increase your chances of having a miscarriage, a baby with a birth defect, or other reproductive problems.  Some infections can pass to an unborn baby during pregnancy and cause a miscarriage or birth defect. Infections like seasonal influenza (the flu) and pneumonia can cause more serious illness in pregnant women.

4. Extended Hours of Standing

Cooks, nurses, salesclerks, waiters, police officers, and others, have jobs that keep them on their feet all day. This can be difficult for a pregnant woman, but it might be downright dangerous for her unborn baby. Studies have found that long hours of standing during the last half of pregnancy disrupt the flow of blood.[3]

Key Factors Creating a Great Workplace whilst Pregnant

1. Flexibility

You might feel tired as your body works overtime to support your pregnancy — and resting during the workday can be tough. Having an employer or job that provide care and is understanding to your needs is hugely beneficial.

A compassionate and empathetic employer will understand morning sickness; they will facilitate changes in working hours to accommodate your energy and assist with the smells from the work kitchen. 

They will also enable you to remain flexible to snack as and when you want to – crackers and other bland foods can be lifesavers when you feel nauseated. Nad eating small frequent meals are similarly saving you as your meal quantity decreases.

2. Compassion

More employers are learning that the idea that pregnant women are willing and necessary contributors to the economy and are capable of adding long-term value to their organizations. 

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Employers that follow good practice in maternity can improve the experience of pregnant employees and new mothers and encourage them to return to work following maternity leave.

A good relationship between a pregnant employee and her line manager is essential to the successful reintegration of the employee following maternity leave.

3. Stress Reduced

Stress on the job can sap the energy you need to care for yourself and your baby.

To minimize workplace stress, take control. Make daily to-do lists and prioritise your tasks. Consider what you can delegate to someone else — or eliminate. 

Talk it out. Share frustrations with a supportive co-worker, friend or loved one. 

Practice relaxation techniques, such as breathing slowly or imagining yourself in a calm place. Try a prenatal yoga class, as long as your health care provider says it’s OK.

4. Adaptable

As your pregnancy progresses, everyday activities such as sitting and standing can become uncomfortable. Remember those short, frequent breaks to combat fatigue? Moving around every few hours also can ease muscle tension and help prevent fluid buildup in your legs and feet. 

Using an adjustable chair with good lower back support can make long hours of sitting much easier — especially as your weight and posture change. If your chair isn’t adjustable, use a small pillow or cushion to provide extra support for your back.

Elevate your legs to decrease swelling. If you must stand for long periods of time, put one of your feet up on a footrest, low stool or box. Switch feet every so often and take frequent breaks.

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Wear comfortable shoes with good arch support. Consider wearing support or compression hose, too.

5. Financial Support

Financial strain is one of the leading causes of peri & post natal depression. Employers can support employees by offering them benefits beyond the statutory minimum, for example training mechanisms to help them cope with balancing work and family commitments. 

The employer should conduct a performance review with the employee prior to her maternity leave to boost her confidence and encourage her to consider how parenthood and work will fit together.

Key Take-Aways

If you’re working while you’re pregnant, you need to know your rights to antenatal care, maternity leave and benefits. 

If you have any worries about your health while at work, talk to your doctor, midwife or occupational health nurse. You can also talk to your employer, union representative, or someone in the personnel department (HR) where you work. 

Once you tell your employer that you’re pregnant, they should do a risk assessment with you to see if your job poses any risks to you or your baby. If there are any risks, they have to make reasonable adjustments to remove them. This can include changing your working hours. 

If you work with chemicals, lead or X-rays, or in a job with a lot of lifting, it may be illegal for you to continue to work. In this case, your employer must offer you alternative work on the same terms and conditions as your original job. If there’s no safe alternative, your employer should suspend you on full pay (give you paid leave) for as long as necessary to avoid the risk.

Look for employment opportunities that don’t require too much physical exertion and that won’t cause you much emotional stress. Also, look for jobs that come with the chance to work flexible hours, offer good medical benefits, allow you to take time off as needed, and don’t require a long commute. 

Your current employer may need to offer you different types of work or a change to your working hours. If your employer can’t get rid of the risks (for example by finding other suitable work without any reduction in pay for you), they should offer you suspension on full pay.

Featured photo credit: Alicia Petresc via unsplash.com

Reference

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