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How to poach-proof your nanny relationship

2015 July 20

A good nanny is a prize, one that other families may stoop low enough to try to steal from you. Nanny poaching can happen anywhere from the school gate to your own garden gate and it can be anyone including your next door neighbour or anyone close friend.

Some will say that a nanny who allows herself to be poached wasn’t happy in her job anyway. After all when you’re in a content and committed relationship you’re not casting around for a better partner! If you do sweep the room occasionally it’s just eye candy, and while your nanny might periodically flick through job ads it isn’t necessarily a sign of discontent. Poaching is more dangerous. Poaching is the equivalent of someone coming up to you in a bar, buying you a drink or six while whispering sweet nothings in your ear and ultimately enticing you to come home with them.

You can’t stop someone coming up to your nanny and buying them that drink, but you can make sure their sweet nothings fall on deaf ears and here’s how…

1. Employ her properly

Half declared and half in cash, all under the table or a dodgy self-employment arrangement might be attractive on the surface, because after all it’s saving you money that’s going into her pocket, but it’s an easy target. Your nanny will pick up the contributions she’s losing out on and if she’s not happy being self-employed with all the lack of security that brings she’ll be off before you can say ‘sick pay, maternity pay and redundancy’.

2. Talk to her

A nanny who feels ignored is a nanny who will be particularly susceptible to sweet nothings. All humans have all basic need to feel accepted and valued. If the sum total of your interactions is little Johnny’s food intake, nappy output and sleep time then you’re onto a loser. Go one better and say ‘thank you’ regularly.

3. Respect her

Respect her time, respect her judgement, respect her rules. Persistent lateness and feeling micro-managed or undermined are things that will sour any relationship, not just the one with your nanny. Make sure your children respect her too – don’t badmouth her in in front of them, don’t belittle her and if you do ever need to discuss her performance with your partner or with her directly then do it privately.

4. Value her

One of the biggest lures is a bigger pay packet or better perks. If you’re stretched to the limit to afford your nanny already then you can’t compete by flashing cash but you can let your nanny know how much you appreciate her work and still have regular performance and pay reviews. Any payrise, even a tenner a week gained from giving up your morning Starbucks, will be appreciated but if you really can’t afford it then tell your nanny that you would love to pay her more but it’s just not possible and and try to show your appreciation in other ways. Nannies notice when and where you spend money, and if your obvious pay rise or bonus is going entirely on you and nothing to acknowledge her she will feel bitter and resentful.

If, even after all this, your nanny does get poached don’t get into a bidding war. Chances are there was something wrong anyway. Cut the poacher out of your life and congratulate yourself on your excellent taste in nannies.

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