Helpointe | Employing Domestic Staff (DS)…Getting it right from the start! Part A
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Employing Domestic Staff (DS)…Getting it right from the start! Part A

Employing Domestic Staff (DS)…Getting it right from the start! Part A

I’m a strong believer that a successful employer-domestic staff relationship, like any other relationship depends largely on efforts by both parties.

Many Employer-DS relationships are unsuccessful not necessarily because the staff are incompetent but because a number of things are either taken for granted and/or not specifically addressed at the on-set of the relationship. So after some research and a sprinkling of my experiences, here are a few ways to ensure a successful work relationship from ‘jump.


    • Introduce your domestic staff to your home. I call this the talk/walk through.
      Take out time to speak to your new staff. Talk about your values as a family, how many people live in the home, behavior that is tolerated and those that are not. Explain ground rules, routines…get specific! For instance, if you don’t allow the speaking of vernacular in your home, this is best time to mention it. As you talk, take a walk….show her around. Where her bedroom or sleeping area is, where the master bedroom is, where the kitchen, store and children’s rooms are, what bathroom she is to use, etc. This gives her a chance to familiarize herself more quickly with her new surroundings


    • Meals
      It will surprise you how often DS leave their place of employ because there were no proper feeding arrangement in place. The employer may assume that the help will fix her meal when hungry or in homes where a cook/chef is employed, assume that the cook will sort that out. The cook may not serve the DS a meal either because he received no express instructions from the madam of the house…sometimes; he may just be plain ol’ mean. The new DS too timid or upset to speak up waits to go on her ‘off’ and doesn’t return.To guard against this, explain what your provisions are for her feeding. Is she supposed to make her own meals? Does she eat what the rest of the family is eating? Whatever you decide, ensure she is fed a minimum of three (3) square meals a day. …..and it won’t hurt to buy her a drink, cookies…..occasionally.


    • Clearly define expectations in terms of the duties the DS is expected to perform. Most experienced DS instinctively know what their general duties are but may still require guidance as to tasks that may be specific to your household. Furthermore, it’s a chance to tell them how you personally like things done. The employer is responsible for communicating what his/ her specific needs are while the domestic staff is responsible for meeting those expectations after they’ve been agreed. For example, household A may require that their nanny in taking care of their children, prepare their meals. Household B may on the other have a cook who is charged with preparing all the meals in the home and will therefore not require the nanny to be in the kitchen doing any kind of cooking


    • Draw up and sign a work Contract/ Agreement! I can hear u go….”’shu! Is it a corporate environment? It’s not that serious’’. On the contrary, a work contract duly signed by the parties concerned serves as a reference point for the duration of the work relationship. It formally documents expectations on both sides and can contain anything from termination procedures, to ‘off-days’ specifications and so on. Work agreements motivates the parties concerned to fulfil their own part of the agreement.


    • Give your staff time to settle down. Whilst some DS are very quick to do this, others are a bit slower. Personally, this shouldn’t last longer than a week or two. Try to not get too upset if a few mistakes are made or she is asking a lot of questions about her job.  Don’t discourage these questions or act like she’s silly to ask. In no time, she will be more confident and better able to handle her tasks independently.

This is all we can cover in this post. Part B loading…..

I truly hope that these few points resonate with you and that in practicing these, we can provide an environment that enables our domestic staff to flourish at their jobs.  Please leave your comments below…we would love to know what you think!

Until next time!

God Bless You


When you know better, you do better….xoxo

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