We know that on a daily basis, Centre Managers and Operators are being pulled in multiple directions. They’re under continuing pressure to not only ensure a Centre is running smoothly, the team are motivated, and families are happy, but also meet occupancy targets and changing regulatory requirements.
And that regulatory administration workload is coming at a significant cost to Childcare Centres and the industry as a whole. According to a recent study by Canon, 63% of businesses are wasting up to 10 hours per week on manual and repetitive (yet necessary) administration tasks. For a Childcare business, that equates to $20,800 of a Centre Managers average salary per year that is allocated to administration work alone. That’s a staggering financial cost to any Childcare business, and one that needs to be addressed now!
So how can you cut down on your administration workload and increase productivity? We discuss the 5 most time-consuming activities for Centre Managers and how to reduce their impact.
1. Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork
Managing records, incident forms, enrolment paperwork, CWA’s and attendance – there’s no getting around it, running a Childcare Centre comes with a lot of necessary paperwork. We’ve got two words for you, automation and technology. Automation is a lifesaver for Childcare Centres who are looking for ways to streamline daily tasks while saving both time and money. Why not:
- Create, customise and automate the Family enrolment process to alleviate the pressure on you and make sure it’s a smooth process for Families. iEnrol and Childcare CRM are two great options on the market to help make this happen.
- Digitise paper forms and processes (such as incident, illness or trauma forms) using PDF fillable forms, or software programs like 1Place Childcare to make these processes easier to complete and store online for quick access and sharing.
- Digitally capture attendance and then outsource the manual process of auditing your attendance and rectifying any submission discrepancies that come up. Enrolment Hub can help you here.
- File regularly and often. Here is also a great resource for managing paperwork storage at the Centre.
It’s time to embrace technological advances and outsourced solutions to reduce your administration burden.
2. Responding to new enquiries
With the average enrolment equating to $12,558 per year – every unanswered enquiry can cost Operators thousands of dollars in revenue. Now more than ever, it’s important that every single enquiry you receive is answered and the development of personal connections with prospective Families are prioritised. On average, it takes 10 points of contact to convert a new lead to an enrolment, so here are some easy ways to simplify this process for you:
- Funnel all your enquiries into one location, such as a specific enrolments email address or digital waitlist database to help you keep on top of them. Never let them fall through the cracks again.
- Create a range of email templates to allow you to communicate quickly with Families, whilst still ensuring that your brand is always represented appropriately.
- Allocate two blocks of time each day to review your enquiries and respond accordingly. That’s all.
- Get on the phone – a single call could reduce back and forth email communication by half.
- Allow Families to book a Centre tour directly on your website to cut down the emails. A web developer can help you here and you can set up rules for times and days tours are available.
- Still running short on time? Businesses like Enrolment Hub or Childcare CRM can help manage this entire process for you.
3. Sending, explaining and investigating Family statements
Child Care Subsidy (CCS) entitlements can be confusing for Families – and the confusion looks set to increase, as Families circumstances and entitlements change with COVID-19.
This is a great task to outsource to an experienced team – as the investigation into discrepancies alone can sometimes take days. If you’re not ready to outsource, create an ‘Accounts’ email address and direct Families to send their enquiries there. That way you can keep on top of queries and it won’t clog up your inbox. Set time aside three times a week to manage these queries and respond. You can also create automated payment reminders when Families miss a payment through iParentPortal or why not look into integrating iDebtPro? It’s important to ensure your debt ledger never gets out of control.
4. Applying for CCS, ACCS and QKFS
Cue a big groan. Applying for CCS, ACCS and QKFS are some of the most time-consuming activities for any Centre Manager and very rarely are they straight forward. Here are a few tips to make it more manageable:
- Ensure your program is set up correctly from the get go (including entering all Family details accurately) to mitigate issues occurring down the track. It will save you hours!
- For QKFS funding, look at outsourcing the assembly of the forecast calculation and reconciliation spreadsheets each semester. That way you simply need to review and approve before submitting.
- Create various cheat sheets that you can send to Families to help them apply for CCS and ACCS. This will save you time explaining the process multiple times and give Families a clear roadmap.
- For ACCS, look at outsourcing the gathering of application information to a third-party (such as Enrolment Hub) to take the pressure off your team.
5. Booking casual days
Every Centre should provide Families with the option to book casual days as they’re a great source of additional revenue and have become much easier to facilitate over the last 18 months. Why not:
- Digitalise the process and give Families the ability to book casual days using programs such as KindyNow.
- Set an hour aside at the end of every day to manage and confirm casual bookings received that day. Template any booking confirmation communications so you can work through them quickly.
- Families still wanting to book directly with you? Have specific rules around casual day bookings (such as they must be booked at least 24 hours in advance) to give you the opportunity to plan your roster and minimise that last-minute request stress on you.
Looking to the future, decentralisation is going to be the key to success for many Operators and Centre Managers. Outsourcing key business operations (such as Administration Support and Enquiry Management) will allow businesses to thrive into the future.
Like any new process it takes time and commitment to develop. Knowing how to prioritise and make the most of your time is essential to you, your Centre, and your work/life balance.
Enrolment Hub, a Kidsoft partner, supports the ECEC sector by maximising enrolment opportunities, converting enquiries and streamlining processes to allow businesses to thrive. Learn more about Enrolment Hub and how they can assist your business by clicking here.
Not sure where to start? Enrolment Hub Director Scott Monaghan is always available to chat about how best to streamline your processes and remove that administration burden. Why not give him a call to discuss how he can help you – you can reach him on 02 8123 2300 or send him an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.