Toolkit Summary

HR Planning and Infrastructure

Much of the content in this section is conceptual. It is designed to help centres determine the required human resources to best meet their needs. This section also provides tools to help plan for the future. Understanding the demographics of the organization’s workforce is very important for HR planning. For example, what is the average age of the early childhood educators in your centre?  A younger workforce is probably looking for more training and development. An older workforce may be looking for more flexibility at work. If the executive director is 61 years old and is thinking about retirement, is there anyone on staff who has the leadership skills to be promoted to the ED role?  In other words, what are the human resources strategies to ensure minimal risk to centre staff and children served?

This section also includes information on what should be considered when designing the organization’s structure - for example, who reports to whom and factors affecting decisions about whether to contract some services or hire employees on payroll (e.g., cleaning or bookkeeping).

Also provided is background on different types of board structures and roles, and their responsibilities from a human resources perspective. This information can help build a better understanding of the responsibilities of the board and how its authority can be delegated.

HR Policies and Employment Legislation

ECEC providers must comply with legislation regardless of their work setting. It is good practice for managers to develop human resources policies that help their centres meet their legislative obligations as well as deal with day-to-day issues. Examples are provided on the definition of harassment and related processes; appropriate clothing; and hours of work.

Also included in this section are: tips on how to develop policies; sample policies; links to provincial/territorial employment standards websites; and an overview of human resources in unionized workplaces, including the implications of the collective agreement in relation to policy and procedure.


How do I hire, where do I advertise and how do I choose the right candidate?  This section provides tips and suggestions regarding the entire recruitment process including selection criteria, testing, interview questions, making the offer and new employee orientation. There is also a section that specifically deals with hiring an executive director.

The information will help employers avoid costly hiring mistakes, which can have a significant adverse impact on employee morale and clients. For example, there are tips, advice and information on designing a job posting that will attract good candidates—especially useful in a field that has a shortage of early childhood educators. The section also shows how to draft job descriptions that ensure new employees understand what is expected of them, as well as help manage performance issues.

Retention – Keeping the Right People

You have spent a lot of time ensuring you hire the right people, you also want them to stay.  This section provides suggestions regarding how to motivate and recognize employees. Most staff want their performance appraised and seek development. For smaller agencies, where there are limited opportunities for leadership development, suggestions and specific examples are included. Guidance regarding how to develop and implement a performance appraisal program is provided. This section also includes information on employee discipline and termination.

Compensation and Benefits

ECEC staff salaries are relatively low compared to other sectors, making it even more difficult to develop a fair salary and benefits package. In this section, compensation concepts are defined, as well as techniques to establish salaries. Information is also provided regarding salary surveys and an overview of benefits - including what is typically offered, as well what is statutory.

Diversity at Work

There are moral reasons and legal obligations to have a diverse staff. A diverse workforce also makes good business sense. Parents want to bring their children to centres that represent their values. Specific suggestions are provided to assist employers to support and be responsive to generational differences in the workplace, gender equity, employees with disabilities and employees from different cultural backgrounds, as well as employees from the GLBTQ community.

Child Care Workplaces that Work

What are successful child care centres doing that accounts for their success? Success doesn’t happen without forethought and good planning. Often putting in place programs or strategies to deal with specific issues makes the difference - such as how to handle conflict at work and run effective meetings, as well as promote good interpersonal communication, productive work teams and workplace wellness. Suggestions and tips are given for implementing ways to deal with these aspects of the workplace.

Learning, Training and Development

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) graduates bring a strong academic foundation to their work, but learning and training don’t stop after getting a diploma. Research tells us that training and professional development programs have a positive impact on performance and retention. In addition, those in the ECEC workforce with post-secondary education are more likely to provide higher quality care. This section will guide the development of individual and team learning plans. It is also includes links to the Occupational Standards for Early Childhood Educators as well as the Occupational Standards for Child Care Administrators, which are invaluable in determining ongoing professional development needs.