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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 September 21, 2018

11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

Becoming a mother is one of the most difficult challenges a woman can take on in her life. Whether this happens the “natural” way, with the help of science, or through adoption, being in charge of nurturing another human being is a herculean task to take on.

Typically, when we think about parenthood, we imagine two parents sharing the responsibility and having each other to lean on. However, according to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau, 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 are being raised by a single mother.[1] This is a significant portion of the population that often gets overlooked.

If you are one of these mothers raising your children on your own, you are undoubtedly aware of the additional challenges that motherhood has placed upon you, including the constant struggle to find sufficient time, energy, money, and support.

For single mothers who find themselves bogged down by their daily responsibilities and struggle to stay afloat, don’t be fooled by the belief that you have to do all. It is possible to thrive and live as a single mother if you take advantage of all available resources and adjust your priorities based on your situation.

1. Find your community and ask for help

As the sole caretaker of your kids, going through the successes and struggles of parenthood can feel isolating and lonely. You have probably developed a strong sense of independence because you’ve had to go at it alone.

Being self-reliant is necessary in many situations that you have to face, but do not fool yourself into thinking that you don’t need support from others. If you have family nearby, strengthen your relationship with them by visiting and talking more often. Find time to catch up with old friends or co-workers, and don’t assume they don’t want to hang out if they are not parents themselves.

Would you prefer finding mom friends[2] who have more in common with you? Use resources like apps, Facebook groups, and community events to meet local moms in your area.

After you have established a support group that you can depend on, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is NOT a sign of weakness or incompetency to admit you can’t do it all, and others are probably more willing to lend a hand than you think.

If you feel uncomfortable burdening others, suggest trading favors such as taking turns babysitting. Because after all, helping is each other is what community is all about.

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2. Make peace with the past

Before you can move forward, you must make peace with your past and not let it define you or rule your life. Whether your journey to single motherhood was through divorce, death, or never having a relationship the father, it is crucial that you leave behind the feelings of abandonment or betrayal you may be struggling with.

You cannot change the past and the hurt you had to endure, but you can use the strength that you gained from overcoming those obstacles to work towards making the best life for yourself and your child. Learn from the past but live in the present and look towards the future.

3. Make plans and set goals

The daily repetition of trying to balance work and home life can make you feel like you are on operating on autopilot. However, it is imperative to set goals for yourself and to keep working towards self-improvement.

In your personal life, you can set a fitness goal (train for a 5k), a reading goal (read 20 books in a year), or a travel goal (take a trip to Europe). At your job, you can set career goals such as gain leadership experience, get a promotion, or earn a degree or certificate.

Spend time creating a realistic plan to on how you can go about achieving these goals. Not only will working towards these goals make you a more well-rounded and successful person, they will bring more purpose and fulfillment to your life.

4. Look for role models

A great way to jump start your plans for the future is to find a role model or mentor who is further along in their life or career experience. This person can be a great resource when you need guidance on what types of goals to set for yourself and how to achieve them.

It’s also important to have people to turn to for encouragement during difficult seasons of life. Someone who has been through it before can provide the most genuine reassurance that tough times will get better and that staying positive is best approach.

5. Rethink your priorities

Single parents have twice as many responsibilities to take care of, so priorities and expectations must be adjusted accordingly.

Know that you are not superwoman and striving for a perfectly clean home, no dirty laundry, and home-cooked meals for your kids every day is not a reasonable expectation. It’s okay to take shortcuts sometimes, like serving your kids cereal for dinner or waiting until the next day to wash the dishes.

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Don’t compare yourself to anyone else and let go of the guilt that you feel for being the only parent that your kids can count on. Give yourself a break and don’t sweat the small stuff.

6. Make time for me time

Even though it can be difficult to find, making time for yourself is critical to maintaining your sanity and well-being. Without a built-in partner to take over, finding time to be away from the kids must be done intentionally and planned in advance.

If you are sharing custody, use the time away from your kids not only doing productive things but also making sure you are taking care of yourself. Sleep, exercise, and balanced diet are not things that can get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. Also make time for fun activities, such as hobbies and creative outlets.

Even though being a mother is the most important job you have, don’t let it be the only thing that defines you. Time for yourself is more difficult to find if you are the sole caretaker of your kids.

Use the resources that you have to devote time to self-care, and you and your kids will thank you for it in the long run.

7. Stay organized

With so many things to juggle, great organizational skills are an absolute must in order to keep everything moving smoothly. Use apps such as Mint for your finances, Mealime for meal planning, and Cozi as a family organizer for everything from appointments and shopping lists to after school activities.

Maintain constant contact if you are sharing custody so that it is clearly communicated who will be responsible for what when it comes to your kids. Follow consistent routines in the morning and nighttime so that your kids also know what to expect on a daily basis.

8. Be flexible (Don’t be a control freak)

Although it is important to be prepared and stay organized, things don’t always go according to plan.

When kids get sick and have to stay home or babysitters cancel at the last minute, allow for flexibility by having a contingency plan for childcare and with your employer.

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For example, make a list of people you can call when you need last minute childcare, or talk to your boss in advance about working from home when emergencies come up.

Most of all, don’t let unexpected changes stress you out and ruin your day.

9. Learn to say no (Don’t feel guilty)

Single mothers have limitations in time, energy and resources that families with two parents wouldn’t be able to understand. Because of these circumstances, it’s important you let go of feelings of guilt and stop trying to do everything and be everywhere.

You don’t have to say yes to every single birthday party your child is invited to. Your kids don’t have to be involved in sports and extracurricular activities every night of the week.

Limit the things you do to only the ones that are the most enjoyable and meaningful for you and your family. Doing more things does not make you a better mother; simply a more tired one.

10. Live within your means

When you have to raise your family on a single income, budgeting and spending within your means becomes more important than ever.

If you have outstanding debt that is accruing interest, make it a priority to pay those off as soon as possible. Outlining a budget is the best way to visualize how much money is being spent every month on various things and what is left over.

Find ways to save money on the necessities by looking for sales at the grocery store, buying some things secondhand, planning out meals.

After the necessary bills are paid, determine how much can be spent on luxury items such as eating out, vacations, and going to the movies.

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Don’t let finances be a source of anxiety for you and your family. Keep your bank account in good shape while teaching your kids how to spend money responsibly at the same time.

11. Spend quality time with your kids

The time you spend with your kids is so precious and much more limited as a single mother. Make the time that you spend with your kids count.

Rather than sitting in front of the TV, take them on fun and budget-friendly outings to the park, the playground, or a museum. Use meal times as the perfect excuse to ask them about what they are learning in school and the friends they spend time with.

When your kids ask you to play with them, look at it as a privilege and an opportunity to bond with them, rather than a distraction or waste of time. Be present when you are with them, with no work or multitasking on your mind. Your relationship with your kids will absolutely reap the benefits.

Final thoughts

Being a single mother is not an easy job. That’s why it’s important to use all the resources available to you in order to make this job a little bit easier.

Using technology, an organization system and a supportive community are just a few examples of things you should utilize to your benefit. It’s also important to shift your mindset and be more practical when it comes to things like priorities and finances.

Most of all, don’t forget about your own self care. Only when you take care of yourself can you best take care of the people you love.

Single mothers are some of the most hard-working people out there, and you deserve to have a happy and fulfilling life.

Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

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