As with any employment situation, there may come a time when an employer has to terminate their employment relationship with their nanny.. When an employer runs into difficulties with his/her nanny I try to encourage them to work through the issues especially if the employee has developed a positive relationship with the children. Generally the problems can be assessed in two ways-teachable issues and non teachable issues. Teachable issues are things like cooking skills and housekeeping skills. Non teachable issues often relate to a person’s general personality and are usually difficult to change. Some examples are reliability, creativity, energy level etc. Both teachable and non teachable problems can create difficulties in an employment situation but one is far more difficult to remedy than the other.
If your nanny lacks certain skills that are teachable there is a possibility that, with an effort on their part and patience from your end, these problems may be dealt with. For example if your nanny is not a good cook and cooking is an important part of the job you may want to send her to cooking class. If, however, the problems stem from her personality or life style (as with non teachable issues) then it is less likely that you will have success.
Some issues like reliability, if address immediately, can improve with effort from the caregiver and good communication skills from the employer. But a nanny’s energy level and outlook on life is certainly more difficult to address as these are life style and personal issues that are often hard to change and may involve too much time and effort on behalf of the employer. After all your priority is to employ a nanny who is suitable for your family and can provide safe and engaging play for your children.
Common sense dictates that these issues should be addressed during the interview and screening stage of your nanny search but sometimes people can present very well in an interview yet their job performance is not in keeping with this original assessment. There are two ways to avoid this type of problem. The first is to be very diligent and thorough when checking references. Ask the previous employer specific questions with regard to areas that are very important to you. Ask about personality and how the nanny bonded with the children. Secondly, it is always wise to have the short listed candidate come back after the initial interview to spend time with the children. This will give you an opportunity to see them interact with your children in your home and view their response to her.
Unfortunately even with diligence and thoroughness there are often times when you realize the nanny you have hired is not right for your family. Though this may be a very stressful experience for both your family and your nanny it can also be a learning experience which will provide you with additional tools to recruit and screen applicants in the future.