Finding and retaining new trustworthy, loyal, and talented staff can be truly challenging. Managing it the right way and you will be rewarded, doing it the wrong way and things may become uneasy.
Issues such as where to start, identifying requirements, how to organise household staff needs and more related matters can be a daunting experience for the first time private staff employers. Needless to say, a staff member leaving and getting a new replacement is also a highly stressful time as it can be disruptive, time-consuming, and expensive. It is therefore worth the time and effort to make your job offer attractive and to organise the workplace and its management in a way that will enable long term mutual satisfaction.
Supremely Private Staff has prepared this guide to help you keep your best domestic staff long-term.
First and foremost, a good place to start is identifying your own needs as well as your potential employee's needs to attract the best candidates.
What may work for you
Peace of mind because your household, family and/or premises are well looked after
Good value for money because the private staff will bring you lifestyle improvements, meaning you will have more time for your personal time, home, family, friends, and business
Your privacy, confidentiality, family, assets, business interests, and lifestyle will be protected
Much needed flexible assistance
What may work for the new staff members
Paid well because they will be motivated and rewarded for the work they love to do
Other benefits such as private healthcare, good pension or good private accommodation, etc. because they will feel appreciated
Rewards and promotions, annual appraisals, bonuses, training, career development opportunities because they will aim to give the best service every time
Good working culture and good management because they will be more productive
Some flexibility offered in case, for example, they have a doctor appointment
Overall, you wish to employ the most exceptional and capable staff, who can bring you benefits and lifestyle improvements, and someone who loves the profession, is interested in staying long term and with whom you have chemistry as well.
To find and employ the right staff member, there should be many interviews and a trial and probation period in place to get to know them more.
Once you hire the best staff for you, your priority should be to create and maintain a working environment that works for both, one that enables long-term mutual satisfaction. The working environment should consist of mutual happiness and of systems organised in a way that the duties can be carried out efficiently by the staff. It is important that staff are happy at work, feel valued, included, and appreciated and that the employer is happy because of the quality service staff members are carrying out for them and their residence and because they can focus on their priorities with peace of mind.
BUILD TRUST AND CLARIFY EXPECTATIONS EARLY ON
Transitioning a new staff member into their new role should be taken with caution but be as smooth as possible. You should take the time needed to get to know each other and build trust.
It is incredibly important to clarify everything: talk clearly and early about your expectations, routines, preferences, dos and don’ts, organisational structure, who reports to who and less critical areas, such as where there is room for their own judgements and initiatives. Ultimately, all areas of working arrangement should be clear, from duties, contract, confidentiality, and performance reviews to the functional operation of your residence.
It is highly advisable to arrange employee and property manuals. The employee manual should include clear instructions about the operations and procedures including personal and other family members’ or regular guests’ preferences, likes and dislikes as well as routine care. The property manual can outline the functional operation of every component of your residence and grounds related to technology, security, vehicles, important contacts, vendors, etc.
DO NOT MICROMANAGE YOUR STAFF
While giving clear instructions and regular feedback is important, do not be tempted to over-stress about every action your employee takes. The staff should love their work and be motivated, the excessive supervision however often leads to lower staff morale and a hostile workplace. Your employee aims to provide quality service for you, so learn to give clear instructions with deadlines and to trust your staff to develop and deliver. A manager who does not allow their staff a degree of independence and who does not trust their staff to do their duties properly is one of the most common reasons for staff leaving their positions.
In the long run, excessively controlling every area of work is time consuming which is probably not what you wanted to achieve when you hired new people, so organise regular, ideally weekly, quarterly and annual staff meetings instead. This should be an effective, honest two-way discussion about the work performed, areas of improvements, any changes, concerns and suggestions to increase efficiency, staff loyalty and long-term satisfaction. Meetings will help you to be on top of everything while using your managing time efficiently.
MAINTAIN PROFESSIONAL AND RESPECTFUL RELATIONSHIPS
Avoid discussions about highly personal information, avoid giving or loaning money, giving favours or gifts that are not relevant to work and avoid personal contact on social media. After hours socializing must remain professional. Be inclusive with your employees and ensure to update any changes in schedules, routines and needs as soon as possible.
You should not let your mood and personal feelings influence how you deal with workplace issues. Ensure to manage situations professionally, asking yourself occasionally if the staff is overloaded and if changes in your residence or lifestyle have affected the limits of your current staffing level. Remember that the way you communicate and deal with situations influences your employee’s productivity.
It is crucial to not cross the line between boss and friend, meaning you should not be too close or personal with employees. You may be tempted to encourage very relaxed and friendly relationships; however, it is not advisable for staff efficiency in the long run. The reasons for this may be many, to name a few, accurate appraisals may be uncomfortable and challenging, not taking appropriate action of misconducts, and losing credibility.
SALARY REFLECTING MARKET TRENDS AND EMPLOYEE SKILLS
Bear in mind that domestic service is a real career and that work often demands extreme flexibility, working long hours and know-how and being able to work in wide range of areas. Also, the industry is highly competitive and exceptional people with excellent references normally receive multiple employment offers.
A competitive benefits package is as important as in any other profession. The salary should reflect the latest market trends and hours, location, benefits, perks, job description, previous salaries, travel, flexibility, and special skills/certifications of the employee. The other benefits should be holiday, sick pay, maternity pay, possibly healthcare insurance, and a bonus.
It is very important for employees to keep track on the hours worked, days off, overtime, benefits accrued and to be paid fairly.
OTHER WORKING CONDITIONS
Appropriate equipment or task solutions: to perform work efficiently the right functioning solutions and equipment are required. For example, a quality vacuum cleaner or hiring other services with the right tools for undertaking jobs such as cleaning oversized and high windows, additional part-time or full-time temporary workers for work on certain projects etc.
Accommodation: if you are offering accommodation, ensure adequate, clean, and private spaces for your new staff and ensure maintenance is available to them for a long-term staff satisfaction.
Allow some working flexibility: It is usually very common that employees stay in late, therefore it is great if the employer too understands when the employee comes in late one morning due to unexpected increased traffic on the way to work or needs to leave early.
This guide should help you towards a successful long-term employment, however any relationship can end for reasons that are often beyond our control, so it is good to make back-up plans for inconvenient events. Ensure that you know where to look for domestic staff candidates and be connected with the right agency such as Supremely who can help you when you need it, which is often the best solution.