How to Prevent Parents from Poaching Your Nanny

Finding the perfect nanny is no mean feat, which is why nanny poaching is a surprisingly common problem amongst professional families. To “poach” a nanny is to make a job offer to a nanny despite being fully aware that she’s employed by another family, and it takes place more often than some parents realize. Short of keeping your nanny hidden from the view of your friends and neighbors, there’s not much you can do to prevent envious parents from making a move on your nanny. What you can do, however, is make it difficult for them to succeed in their aims.

Pay Well From the Beginning

Countering a would-be poacher’s offer might keep your nanny on the payroll in your household, but only if she lets you know that she’s been approached in the first place. By paying your nanny competitively before those offers start rolling in and treating her with the respect that should be afforded to the woman who cares for your children, you’re building a foundation of trust along with a working relationship that will naturally discourage her from entertaining offers passed along by envious parents.

Offer Competitive “Fringe Benefit” Compensation

There’s more to a compensation package than just a salary, and the fringe benefits may be the very things that makes your nanny completely disinterested in accepting another offer. Whether it’s a holiday bonus, plenty of paid sick days, paid vacation time or use of certain amenities, the perks you offer your nanny are things that she might not be able to get from other employers. When push comes to proverbial shove, she’ll consider all the above-and-beyond compensation you offer and it will weigh heavily against the promises of a poacher.

Provide Health Insurance

Employing a full-time nanny isn’t cheap, but it’s far more expensive to continually brave the hiring process because your great childcare providers keep getting scooped up by other families in the neighborhood. One way to truly set yourself apart from other families on the block is to offer health insurance to your nanny. Even paying a portion of your nanny’s health insurance premium can make a very real difference in her life, and in her job satisfaction. Few things are as terrifying as the prospect of a serious injury or illness to someone who can’t afford healthcare coverage, and the sense of security that comes with employer-sponsored health insurance may be enough to guard your top-notch nanny from even the most persistent poachers.

Be Attuned to Hints of Job Creep and Burn-Out

Regardless of how well you pay or what perks you offer, a burned-out nanny that’s been the victim of job creep for too long will be more receptive to the promises of a nanny-poaching parent. It’s not easy to pay your nanny top dollar for services exclusively related to childcare, but it is the industry standard. It may seem harmless to add a few more tasks to Nanny’s to-do list here and there, but the cumulative effect of all those added responsibilities can be enough to burn her out completely. Before you ask your nanny to do additional chores or favors, think about any increases in responsibility she’s experienced and look for any signs of impending burn-out.

Think Twice About a Nanny-Share Arrangement

Splitting the cost of a private, in-home childcare provider can seem like the perfect solution. In most cases, nanny share arrangements work out well and all involved parties are satisfied. Sometimes, however, the most carefully-planned nanny shares blow up in one family’s face. Before you consent to a nanny share, think about how well you know the other family and how well you think they’ll respect the boundaries of the arrangement. If there’s any doubt in your mind regarding their ability to stay honest and resist the temptation to simply poach your nanny and foot the bill themselves, you may want to think twice before you sign on the dotted line.

Counter a Poaching Offer

If your nanny is attached to your children, genuinely enjoys working for your family and feels that she is a valued employee, you may be fortunate enough to receive notice that she’s been approached by another family. If you’re dedicated to holding on to your nanny and there’s room within your budget, one surefire way of shutting a poacher’s offer down is to counter it. Of course, countering the offer will require you to have a close enough relationship with your nanny that she feels comfortable explaining the situation to you.

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