Your helper is probably thinking about resigning. October is the high season for helper resignations. During the Fall season homesickness is at its peak. Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year for Filipinos, and the desire to be home with their loved ones is VERY high. In order to be home for Christmas, helpers will give 30 days notice in October. Your helper probably has some friends who are resigning, so that will increase her feelings of loneliness and isolation. What can you do as an employer, starting now, to help your helper handle her homesickness?
Understand the Push/Pull factors
When an overseas worker decides to resign it is because the combination of push and pull factors are too high. Push and pull factors are things that might pull her home (e.g., homesickness) or push her to go home (e.g. mistreatment). Here are some common push/ pull factors.
|Push Factors||Pull Factors|
|not enough food||misses her family|
|not enough sleep||her children are struggling in school|
|not enough affirmation||her husband says "I really miss you."|
|employer is critical||former employer in Phil says "come back, we need you"|
|employer shouts||illness in her family|
|your kids disrespectful to her||her own kids cry and say "where are you mommy?"|
As employers, we can't control pull factors, but we have great influence over push factors. In most cases pull factors will not be enough to cause a resignation, but if you add one or two push factors - well - that's a different story.
Treat her with dignity and politeness
If you frequently challenge your helper to strive harder, to clean more thoroughly, work faster -- she will think you are impossible to satisfy and want to give up. If you often communicate in an emotional or angry way, it is very doubtful your helper will complete her contract, and you are at serious risk of her resigning this month. Make October your "helper appreciation month" and look for ways to affirm and encourage her.
- Talk about Christmas and how she celebrates at home. Ask her what her plans are.
- Talk to your employee about how calls home effect her: Do they make her feel more homesick or give her relief? If they only serve to make her more homesick, then too many calls home could be counter-productive.
- Think through some additional or seasonal jobs she could do, and ask her to do them when she has finished her normal chores. Staying busy with meaningful work helps prevent homesickness. Lots of idle time will cause the helper to think a lot about home and her family. Cleaning out seldom used cupboards, re-organizing a storage area, organizing recipes, menu planning, etc. - activities that require thinking will help keep her focus off of the Philippines.
- Arrange for her to SKYPE or call her family for a long talk at Christmas (at your expense). Purchasing a long distance call card can also achieve this end.
- Make sure she has the day off to go to church and spend with her friends.
- Give her some decorations for her room or bedspace.
- Make a secret Santa gift exchange within your family. Each family member draws a name to buy one gift for that person and make a limit on the amount to spend. ($20-25)
- Ask her to cook one of the dishes that is normally served back at home to let your family taste.
- Go out at night time to see the Christmas decorations with the children and let her share this experience with your family.
We hope that both you and your helper will have a happy holiday season.
Allan and Ione, Arrow Employment Services