5 Things your helper needs to be happy at work

Filipino domestic helpers come to work in Hong Kong because they NEED money. They stay because they FEEL HAPPY in their work. If they don't feel happy in their work, no matter how much they need the money - they will sooner or later terminate the contract.  Here is what they need to happy at work. I've adapted these from a Fortune Magazine article entitled "Research shows you need these 5 things to be happy at work". 

Work that challenges you. 

We're already in trouble. Domestic helpers do housework, right? Wrong! Domestic helpers are household managers who keep the family and household running well ENABLING you to perform at your peak in your job and as a spouse and parent. Would Batman be able to function without Alfred Pennyworth his butler? What would Ironman be without his artificial intelligence Jarvis? Your helper's role in your family is important. If you don't tell her how important her role is, she will think of herself as a housecleaner, a maid, only. She won't perform at her optimum level and she won't stay long term.  Tell her how important her work is!

A sense of progress

We have a saying "a woman's work is never done". Housework is repetitive work and sometimes your helper feels like she is going no where in this job. She needs to know that 1) her performance is getting better and 2) the family is making progress. Every so often give her a high five, a well done! Let her know how much better organized things are now. 

No fear

Too many of our employers create a climate of fear for their helpers. They frequently scold them, shout at them, and threaten to fire them. We've even had male employers say "I will kill you if anything happens to my child."   Imagine if your boss regularly threatened you - how would it effect your job performance? We have a word for someone who constantly berates, criticizes and calls others names:  BULLY.  Create a climate of fear and your helper will leave.


Stephen Covey in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People tells the story of training his teenage son to take care of the lawn during the summer. He told him he could choose how to achieve the goal but the standard for the yard was "clean and green". He then defined what "clean" was and what "green" was, and then left it to his son to achieve the goal. Like all workers, helpers hate to be micro-managed. Clearly define your goals and standards, but give them some freedom in how they finish the work. I


When a helper comes to your home she is a "stranger in a strange land". She is desparate for acceptance and hopes your family will embrace her. This is not always the case, so Arrow has created a supportive community for helpers. Our 4 week followup classes help new arrivals build relationships with each other and mature Filipino leaders. Helpers who feel a part of the families they serve are happier and more well adjusted. 

Are these 5 things important to you in your job? How can you create a work environment where the work is challenging, where  workers have a sense of progress, where there is no fear, autonomy is rewarded and where there is a deep sense of  belonging,?  Share your thoughts. Leave a comment.