Early Learning Indiana wasn’t just growing when it came to FirstPerson. It was evolving from an organization that provides childcare in Central Indiana into an organization that serves as a statewide model for the delivery of childcare services. It still provides care to more than 1,000 children each year, but the nonprofit now also coaches and trains childcare professionals throughout Indiana and works to educate policymakers about quality childcare. Undertaking this evolutionary process required more than just a broader scope; it also required Early Learning Indiana improve pay and benefits to hire and retain the state’s best childcare professionals and be recognized as a premier workplace.
FirstPerson quickly recognized that Early Learning Indiana needed more than a new pay and benefits package; the organization needed to define its total compensation philosophy. Early Leaning Indiana Vice President of Workforce and Organizational Development Louonna Kachur said this process began with a compensation study that helped leadership understand the organization’s total compensation needs and objectives. Then FirstPerson helped Early Learning Indiana restructure its compensation structure and select a new benefits vendor. FirstPerson also worked to ensure that Early Learning Indiana employees understood their options and helped the organization communicate its compensation and benefits package more clearly.
FirstPerson didn’t just come in and say, "Here’s a plan you can buy." They asked, ‘What are you trying to accomplish?’
—Louonna Kachur, Early Learning Indiana
Asked to define the results of this effort, Kachur notes: “Our compensation project with FirstPerson allowed us to leverage data, which evolved our compensation philosophy and ignited leadership support. This ensured our compensation program was competitive and aligned with our talent strategy. As changes were made, we saw an immediate and positive impact on center staff retention, performance management, and salary planning activities.”
It was this compensation strategy in tandem with a new benefits package, that gave Early Learning Indiana the increase in employee engagement that they were looking for (in the past, the organization assumed it would have 13% participation in workplace surveys; today, that number has increased to nearly 86%). Perhaps most important, the impact is reflected on the bottom line and in the achievement of their mission. “More work has led to increased income and an increased ability to impact early childhood education across our state,” Kachur says.