The Biggest Mistake Employers Make in Managing Domestic Helpers

Is there one thing you can do to improve your chances of keeping a good helper? We've helped thousands of families find helpers; counselled and coached hundreds of helpers, taught orientation classes for employers, follow up classes for helpers AND over the years we've managed to learn a few things about what works and what hurts the relationship between helpers and employers.  What's the biggest mistake employers make and what SHOULD you do to develop and keep a good helper?   I hate articles where I have to scroll down and down to get to the meat of what they are saying so here it is:

The single BIGGEST mistake in managing domestic helpers is NOT accepting that fact that you are now a MANAGER and NEED to follow well accepted, proven management practices. 

Instead of behaving like a professional manager would in a normal workplace, employers of domestic helpers treat their helpers in ways that they themselves would NOT accept and would NEVER do in a professional setting. They get involved in their personal lives, invade their privacy, try to be friends, micro-manage or ignore them, assume their just arrived worker knows what to do rather than provide training, then berate and criticize them for under performance.  They don't provide a job description, training, performance reviews, rewards for good performance, etc. In short they DO NOT MANAGE their work in a professional manner.

The single BIGGEST thing you can do to IMPROVE your relationship with your helper is to treat her as a professional employee and accept your role as a professional manager.

If you've never managed another worker then begin by doing some reading about basic management best practices and follow those practices.  Write a job description. Schedule performance reviews and learning opportunities. Give bonuses or incentives for work well done. READ about how to better manage others and GROW in your management skills.  

Here's a good article to get you started: The 7 Deadly Sins of Manager/Employee Communication (and how to avoid them)

Because the workplace is the home and not an office we think we don't need to practice good management, but the opposite is true: BECAUSE the workplace is our HOME and we are constantly together, we need to follow good management practices and learn to manage people effectively. 

Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment.