Ladybird Private Day Nurseries is a thriving business that runs two nurseries in Salford, while also offering early years training courses to its own employees, as well as those from other local nurseries and childminders.
The business owners have always been passionate about retaining employees and have introduced a number of incentives, such as annual awards and flexible working, to ensure that employee turnover is just 10% - considerably lower than the industry average.
The business has also won plaudits for its work around improving children’s nutrition, encouraging better dental health, and for working with local groups to support male role models in children’s lives.
“Everything we do revolves around our clear vision of ‘every child deserves the best start in life,’” says business support manager Sophie Davidson. “We quickly established that to deliver this vision we were dependent upon motivated, loyal and passionate people to support us.”
The business wanted support around its growth plans, while also looking for advice on how to retain and motivate employees as it adjusted to new Government regulations around the doubling of free childcare places to 30 hours a week.
The business took up a place on a course for childcare companies developed as part of the Business Growth Hub’s Executive Development Programme. The workshop focused on specific issues such as the changes to funded childcare, as well as leadership skills, resource planning and developing a business model canvas.
“The course encouraged me to take a step back from daily operations and think much more strategically about our leadership,” says Sophie. “It also helped me to evaluate our position, plan for change and adapt how we offer the funded hours, without compromising our vision.”
The course also helped the business to plan for growth in very practical ways, such as questioning how and why they did certain things, and helping them develop a business plan with staged plans and milestones in place.
“We have also introduced a strategy to lead our employees through this period of change and improve our communications so they understand where we are heading as a business,” adds Sophie.
Michael Hayes, one of the Hub’s workforce development advisors, adds: “This new emphasis on planning has enabled the business to be more targeted with its marketing and as a result they have been able to offer places to more children at both their nurseries.
“This extra growth in income has allowed the business to take on seven local people in the last few months, offering jobs to five qualified nursery employees and opportunities to two more apprentices.”
The business has also been successful at the 2017 Salford Business Awards, where they won both Best Employer and Small Business of the Year, while the company’s Shannon Purcell was named Young Apprentice of the Year by Salford City College.
“Our experience of employing apprentices has been overwhelmingly positive and it’s our firm policy that we will provide an ongoing career for all of our apprentices once qualified,” adds Sophie.
Future plans for the business include opening a third nursery, while Sophie is set to attend Hub masterclasses in Employment Law, Digital Marketing and Social Media.