I show concerned parents who want to give their children the best start to life how to better understand their children.

30 Jan 2013

When You Can’t Afford to Give Your Amazing Nanny a Raise

You appreciate the wonderful work your nanny does. Not only does she take terrific care of your child, she also keeps your household organized and running smoothly. Plus, she’s always ready to pitch in and help whenever you need her to. She deserves a raise, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t fit into your family budget right now. So what should you do? Here are a few tips to help you work through this tough time with your nanny.

Be honest with her.
Because you’re not able to give her the raise you want to, your first instinct may be to not bring it up at all. However, it’s a good bet that if you’re thinking it’s time to give your nanny a raise, she’s thinking it too. When you avoid the conversation, chances are she’ll make the assumption that you don’t value her work or don’t feel she deserves an increase in pay. By being honest about your feelings and your inability to afford a raise right now, you’ll avoid hurtful assumptions. Being honest with her also opens the door for you to work together to come up with alternative ways of rewarding her work and dedication.

Let her know how much you appreciate her.
Even if you can’t afford a raise, you can afford a handwritten card and a small thank you gift. Being appreciated is at the top of every nanny’s wish list. A heartfelt thank you will go a long way with your caregiver.
While you should make a special effort to thank your nanny during the raise conversation, don’t only save saying thank you for special occasions. Remember to say thank you along the way too. Any time you notice your nanny going above and beyond the call of duty, let her know how much you appreciate the extra effort. When you’re reminded of how happy your kids are being in her care, let her know that the work she does truly makes a difference to your family. Every day you’re presented with lots of specific examples of why your nanny is so amazing. Use those examples to point out what you appreciate about her. Nannies that feel appreciated on the job are much happier in their positions and are much more likely to stay long term.

Run the numbers and see if any raise is possible.
Even if you can’t give your nanny the raise she asked for or that the agency recommended, give her what you can. Explain that you’d like it to be more, but this is what you can afford at this time. Nannies understand that employers have financial restraints like everyone else. Any raise, even a small one, makes a difference.

Think outside the box to see if you can offer her an added benefit.
There are a lot of things you can offer your nanny besides a monetary raise to her hourly rate. Some employers offer additional paid time off, frequent flier miles for the nanny’s next visit home, use of the family’s vacation home, use of the nanny car during personal time, adding the nanny to the family’s cell phone plan, and other benefits that are free or low cost to the family but still valuable to the nanny. If you’re stumped for ideas, ask your nanny. She may ask for something that never crossed your mind, but that you’re willing and able to offer.

Come up with a plan for raising her rate in the future.
Even if you can’t afford to give your nanny a raise now, figure out when you’ll be able to afford one in the future. Let your nanny know what the timetable for her next raise is. Remember that you don’t have to give the raise in one instance. You can stagger the raise over a period of a few months or build in other long term financial incentives.
Rather than tell your nanny what your plans are, engage her in a conversation. Give her the opportunity to share her thoughts and feelings. By having an honest and open conversation, you’ll both have a clear understanding of the other’s perspective and be on the same page moving forward. Knowing that you’ve thought it through and have promised a raise in the near future will go a long way in reassuring your nanny that your employment relationship is on the right track.
You’re lucky to have a wonderful nanny working with your family. Even though you’re not able to give her a raise right now, there are other ways to say thank you to her for all her hard work and devotion.

Syndicated, with consent, from http://www.nannyjobs.org/blog/when-you-cant-afford-to-give-your-amazing-nanny-a-raise/

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  1. I thought this was a very important piece. Having two children, myself, we are as generous as we can be to our kids' teachers/day care providers. I feel like it is the one necessity because they are with our kids the most. Now we have an after school nanny/babysitter, in addition, for our almost 10-year-old. She only watches my daughter 10 days a month, but also cleans for us every other week to give her a decent weekly pay. At holiday time, I gave her the equivalent of one week's pay and, where I can, I try to let her go a little early. I think childcare is stressful, and while money is definitely important, I do think paid time is probably the second biggest deal to someone in that position. So, in lieu of a raise, if a parent could give a nanny a half hour to an hour here or there of letting them come late or leave early, it could make a difference... not forever, but until there are funds to do more. Thank you for reminding me to show my appreciation--again--for my babysitter :-). Ellen

  2. Regular gifts - of things you may not need anymore but will of great value to the nanny - can mitigate a lack of raise. Also, give her a bit more time off in exchange - but don't reduce her salary...I'm glad we don't need them anymore! I was, at times, a revolving door!

  3. I think the biggest take away is what you said at the bottom, "Thanks for reminding me to show appreciation."
    In addition, I think that applies to any job.
    When our bosses appreciate us, the money becomes a little (only a little) less important.
    I think it's the human connection.

  4. A revolving door... I don't understand that reference.
    Can you explain it to me?

  5. Meaning an endless stream of nannies.

  6. How about an occasional gift card? Even if it's only $25 or so, a gift card for Amazon.com or a local restaurant that you know she likes still shows she's valued without spending a great deal of money on a regular basis.

    When dealing with employees, sometimes it IS the thought that counts.

  7. I agree with that.
    I think it's also the surprise feeling that wows people.
    When someone gives us a gift on our birthday, well it's expected. (We should still be grateful... blah blah blah)
    However, when someone just gives us a gift out of the blue, or just because we did a good job this week, that feels incredible and sticks in our minds.