The relationship you have with your nanny probably feels a lot more personal than your other working relationships. This person knows your home life intimately and has a deep bond with your kids. But at the end of the day, nannies are so good at what they do because they are professionals. And every professional likes an annual review to let them know how they are doing in their job. Westside Nannies encourages every employer to give their nanny an annual performance review. But before you give that all-too-important review, it’s important to understand a little bit more about what a performance review entails.

Before a performance review takes place, give your nanny a heads up. Set a date and time to discuss the review privately—the children should not be present for this professional discussion—and offer the nanny a chance to do a self-review prior to your discussion. A self-review gives them a chance to evaluate their own performance and note any areas of concern they’d like to discuss with you. When putting together your review of a nanny’s performance, make sure you include the following:

Strengths & Areas for Improvement

Every nanny wants to know how they’re doing on the job and if you believe there are areas in which they can improve. Regular feedback throughout the year is very important to keeping the lines of communication open with your nanny and helping him or her to perform their job well. But the yearly review offers an additional opportunity to examine their overall performance and assess the true value they add to your family. For example, this may be the time when you tell your nanny how much you’ve noticed that her regular reading time is paying off with your preschooler’s speech and language development or how much you appreciate that he always takes the extra step of preparing the children’s backpacks for school the next day.

Similarly, this is a good time to discuss any ongoing performance issues or areas where improvement is needed. However, it’s typical in annual reviews to only discuss performance issues that have been brought to the nanny’s attention beforehand. An annual review is not the time to surprise an employee with something you just noticed yesterday and haven’t yet mentioned or given them the opportunity to correct.

Compensation Review

Raises matter to all professional employees, and with each year of experience your nanny gains, it’s important to assess her salary. A typical raise is three to six percent of a nanny’s base salary, depending on a few different factors. When reviewing your nanny’s salary, take into account the cost of living in your area and the current market rate for professional nannies. You can call a local agency, like Westside Nannies, to get advice about the current rates and best practices for giving raises. You should also consider the quality of the nanny’s overall performance and how much he or she has grown in the role.

In addition to a raise, you should also review your nanny’s benefits. Along with a raise—or in lieu of one, if you opt not to offer a raise—some families use the yearly review as an opportunity to increase the amount they contribute towards a nanny’s health insurance plan and/or retirement plan. At this time, it could also be appropriate to offer additional vacation time or add new benefits, like a cell phone plan, gym membership, or other monthly stipend.

Goals for the Upcoming Year

If you named any ways that your nanny could improve, set a goal for the coming year and talk about a strategy for how they can fix the issue(s). While you’re chatting about the year ahead, it’s a good idea to also go over any upcoming schedule changes and expectations, as well. If a child is starting school in the coming fall, for example, you’ll need to discuss how you plan to manage that transition. Similarly, the nanny will need advance notice if you’re planning to change her hours, add more household tasks to her job, or make any major household changes, like adding a new pet.

Remember that feedback is essential to any employee, but it’s especially important for one as vital to your day-to-day life as a nanny. Your nanny will appreciate being treated like the professional that she or he is, and ultimately an annual review will set a precedent for the kind of open and honest communication that leads to a strong and truly beneficial working relationship.