Maintaining Long Term Household Staff

What you want: to provide every incentive possible to ensure that your fantastic household staff stay in your employ for a long time.

What we have: a list of proven guidelines to help you do just that!

1.Communication: It’s best to have your household manager spend time with your newly hired employees to let them know your specific needs and preferences, as well as any routines they might need to know.  If you do not have a household manager, then someone needs to do this.  If you are not available or unsure of how this needs to be done, we are available.

If you employ over three employees, have a home over 7,500 sq. ft., or constantly have a turnover in staff,  we would suggest that you have a household manual, consisting of procedures and processes, you may want to have your new employee(s) create one. If you don’t have someone that can do this for you, Professional Domestic Services & Institute can perform this service for you for a fee.

An Employment Agreement (Professional Domestic Services & Institute offers one you can use) can help clarify responsibilities, hours, salary, and other vital information right from the beginning.

2.Staff management: There is a fine line between supervising your staff and micro-managing them. Of course you’ll want to be satisfied with what they’re doing, but if you go overboard, it’s highly likely you could drive them away before they understand your needs and expectations, or show you how valuable they can be to  you.

Remember that you’ve hired professionals who should know what they’re doing. Trust that you’ve hired the right person for your home, and give them space to give their best.  Professional Domestic Services tests their applicants to have a better understanding of their abilities and how they can help you establish the home your desire.  If an applicant is not performing to your expectations then we can help with that.

3.Equipment: Your staff needs the best (and right) equipment to enable them to do their best work for you. If they have advice and recommendations on better equipment, consider them carefully, as they will use the equipment regularly.

Also, if they recommend that certain tasks be completed by off-site vendors, you may want to consider hiring the work out. There are definitely certain tasks that require a high level of expertise that even a professional household service provider cannot be expected to have — for example, antiques and certain types of artwork may need the professional expertise of a conservator; resurfacing marble or wood floors; etc.

4.Meeting with your staff: It’s a good idea to have your Household Manager meet with your household staff regularly. You may think you don’t have the time to do this, but it really can pay off royally in greater effectiveness and loyalty.

5.Working hours: Want to know one of the quickest ways to burn out your household staff? Overwork them. And the sad thing is that often, the generous and big-hearted nature of household staff members means they’ll frequently say “yes, of course!” to requests for additional hours (especially without extra pay or time off) with a smile.

They won’t let you know you’re feeling overworked… until they give their notice and they might not even mention this then.  They need to have a life of their own so that they can provide you with the best employee possible.

When you do absolutely need them to work extra hours, be sure to offer overtime pay and/or additional time off. And don’t forget to let them know how much you appreciate them!

6.Living accommodations: Before your staff move in, be sure their housing is clean and well kept. Employing a couple? Make sure they have plenty of room. Even the most happily married couples need space and privacy while at home.  They also need comfortable furnishing.

And remember, you’re offering living accommodations for YOUR benefit, not theirs! On-site housing allows you the flexibility of being able to call upon your staff whenever you need them. Or if you live in an area where temporary housing is not available, you might have to do this in order to obtain long-term quality employees.  For this reason, do not include their accommodations as part of their salary. After all, if they leave your employ, they can’t take the housing with them!

7.Salary and benefits: You hired professional household staff who deserve to be treated as such. This includes their compensation. Be sure you provide full benefits like health insurance and paid time off, the same that a corporation does.  And please, withhold taxes and Social Security! It is no longer considered acceptable to pay household staff under the table. Help them provide for their futures and make it easier for them to file their taxes responsibly.

Remember, just like in other professions, contributions to a 401K and end-of-the-year bonuses for high-quality employees are always welcome and appreciated — and another great way to ensure your employees stay with you long-term.

8.Consistency and advance notice: Because of the generous nature and service attitude of the typical household professional, they tend to be highly adaptable and flexible in order to serve you. Be sure you don’t take advantage of it!

Notify your employees as soon as possible of any changes in their schedule or routines, as well as any special or additional needs. Not only does this show respect to your household staff, but it also allows them to provide you with higher quality service.

9.Encouraging loyalty and long-term employment: Everyone has a bad day at times, and most professional household service providers understand this fully. But try not to make it a habit. The more you work at maintaining a harmonious relationship with your staff, the more loyalty you will inspire in them.

Also, if you find yourself adding additional tasks to your household staff, you may want to consider hiring more staff or have a service come in, in order to get caught up. Again, you don’t want to make overworking your current staff a habit.

10. Additional training is always valuable: Not only will it improve the care your family and home gets, but it will make sure that the proper cleaning chemicals are used and doesn’t destroy or damage something that you cherish.  It also provides your employees access to professionals that can help answer their questions, so that they can provide better service to you.  It will also show your employees that you value them by investing in their training.

11.Respect: What most of these guidelines come down to is respect. We don’t have a caste system in this country; everyone is created equal, and your household staff was not born into the role. They chose this, as a career, because they love to make others’ lives easier.

Treat your household staff as equals, worthy of respect and good communication. You will be rewarded with long-term employees who are devoted and loyal to you and your family.

Are you having a difficult situation with a household staff member that you’re not sure how to handle? Professional Domestic Services & Institute offers private consulting to help you navigate these tricky situations. Call us at 614.565.5043 to schedule your consultation appointment.