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Tips To Successfully Onboard Private Estate Staff Members

The success of service in a staffed private residence is measured by the satisfaction of both the employee and the Principal(s).  Day one on the job is the first opportunity to set the new domestic staff personnel up for success by creating an environment where they feel supported, prepared and excited for their new role.

The foundation of any successful professional working relationship is communication and there is no better time to start this than on day one. It is imperative to take time to meet with new members of the household staff at the beginning and end of their first day.  This will help ensure that the employee feels welcome and provide an opportunity to review expectations and for the new hire to ask any questions they may have pertaining to their role.

  • Make sure to clearly communicate start date, time and location well in advance, as well as specifying who to ask for upon arrival.
  • Give new employees the best chance of success by creating a detailed onboarding plan.
  • Collate a welcome packet that includes a household manual, payroll and benefit forms and any legal documents, such as an NDA, non-compete, etc.
  • Inform Principal(s) and all other staff members of their arrival and position within the household, as well as providing introductions to all other staff members
  • When necessary, let other individuals in close contact (such as vendors, suppliers, etc) with the home know about the new hire and the reporting relationships
  • Conduct a detailed tour of relevant parts of the estate.
  • Inform the new employee about any household rules and guidelines as they relate to the Principal(s) such as loud noises, music, smells (kitchen, cleaning, perfume, preference of being visible / invisible in the employers’ space, expectations on how they are to interact with other staff, or other preferences as outlined in Domestic Staff Rules and Guidelines.
  • Disclose any special arrangements or permissions that have been made with the other staff members, vendors or guests. For example: “Dave is well known to the family and therefore, you do not need to pay close attention to him when he is onsite.” Or “Susie is permitted to take beverages from the staff refrigerator.”
  • Identify a “break” area for the new employee to conduct personal calls, have lunch, take a break, etc.
  • Disclose the preferred method and frequency of communication with other colleagues and Principal(s).
  • Provide and review the operational household manual, including room books that show how each area of their responsibility is to look, with detailed procedures for maintaining that respective area.
  • Discuss all policies and procedures such as: How to answer the phone, greet guests, take phone messages, handle delivery of packages, gifts, flowers, petty cash procedure, and more.
  • Review what a standard day/week at the residence would look like.
  • Review schedule of Duties and Responsibilities as expected on a weekly, monthly, seasonal and as-needed basis. For example: Housekeeping Duties and Responsibilities.
  • Provide a telephone List that Includes all vendors, colleagues and key contact numbers.
  • Encourage new members of the team and remind them that they were hired because they are the very best for the job and an integral part of the support team to the Principal(s)!

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