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Considerations When Hiring Private Domestic Professionals

Bringing people into your home is extremely personal and when it entails hiring staff who will have access to highly confidential, as well as intimate details of your life, it is even more important to ensure that proper considerations are taken into account. Identifying and retaining trustworthy, loyal and proficient domestic staff can present unique challenges for both the employee and employer.

It is of upmost importance that these relationships are embarked upon thoughtfully by all parties to minimize the possibility of turnover and effectively manage expectations to create a roadmap for success. Generally speaking, domestic staff is expected to be extremely flexible with a history and knowledge of any and all aspects of caring for luxury estates. There will often be long hours comprised of a range of tasks both small and large. A domestic professional may be required to be -all things to all people - in the household; from planning and executing a formal dinner, housekeeping duties or running errands for the Principals one day to organizing the logistics of a family trip and ensuring that all members have the necessary items for travel the next.

As an employer, retaining exceptional staff improves moral, overall operations and ultimately saves time and money.  In an attempt to do reduce turnover, it is important to acknowledge and address what are some of the main reasons for turnover.

  1. Micro-management by an employer or manager is the number one reason domestic staff will leave their positions. There is a fine line between overseeing staff to ensure that tasks are executed in a manner that meets expectations and shadowing them to the point that you inhibit their efficiency and performance. As a manager, it is critical to show trust, to be fair and reasonable while creating an environment that encourages a high level of performance. In areas not as pivotal to your preferences, allowing the employee to exhibit their judgment and autonomy in the completion of their tasks, will keep them engaged and dedicated to their work long-term.
  2. Excessive and continual over-time may lead to burnout and increase turnover. It is common for salaried professionals to be expected to significantly increase their work hours during busy periods without additional pay as acknowledgement for the increase in work. Anything over 50 hours per week for a consistent period of time, warrants consideration of a bonus or additional time off, when the principal(s) schedule permit. Alternatively, if the employee is highly compensated from the onset of employment with the understanding that hours will frequently vary above 50 hours per week and flexibility is required, this will reduce the possibility of frustration due to misaligned expectations or the feeling of being undervalued as an employee.

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