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Elizabeth Ajetunmobi: Love Languages of your Domestic Staff

Elizabeth Ajetunmobi

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Oh, love! What a blessed thing. How I love love. This February, as love is being celebrated in different parts of the world, remember to also reach out to people who do not have the means to get you a gift.

As the middle person between domestic staff and their employers, I have often heard employers say, “I had plans for that girl,” while the girl on the other hand would tell me she felt she was not appreciated enough.

Taking a closer look into the matter, I have come to realize it’s a love language issue. According to Gary Chapman’s remarkable discovery, the five love languages make us understand there are certain ways individuals love to be appreciated. Most people would respond to love, albeit in different ways.

There are actions that show to your domestic staff that you care for them. For instance, some employers might think they are being caring and helpful when they decide to enroll their staff in a college or at a university and they usually get a rude shock when they find out that the staff is not interested. Rather, they would prefer to get cash gifts or learn a trade or skill. When an individual shows us how they would love to be appreciated, its best to try and love them that way, even when we do not fully agree with their choices.

Truth be told, effective domestic staff go above and beyond for their employers. They give off their lives to serve, and in doing so, they help you strike a balance in your life. Saying thank you is good enough, but when someone improves your life in a significant manner, you want to find an approach of gratitude that speaks emotionally as well. Don’t lose a good hand because of ignorance. But, how do you express such appreciation when it comes to your domestic staff?

Let me walk you through few love languages of a domestic staff:

Cash Tips
This almost seems to be number one on a lot of people’s list, especially in Nigeria. This can only be given if you have extra cash to spare. Do not worry, there are other non-monetary ways of expressing love.

Gifts
You can get them a gift no matter how small. When it comes to gifts, it is the intention that matters not the value of what is given.

Spend time with them
Spending time to bond with your domestic staff can never be overemphasized. It brings them closer to you and helps them unwind, and also makes them feel like they are a significant part of your home.

Empathy
Empathy is an endearing quality, but it is rare. Yet it can serve as an effective tool when dealing with domestic staff. It involves showing genuine concern when something goes wrong, asking about the well-being of their family members, and asking to speak to them on occasion. By doing this, you can reach the heart and help create an attachment in their heart to you and the job.

Acts of Service
There’s nothing wrong in joining your staff on occasion to perform part of their chores. This helps break any form of resentment for the chores, and they will see it as just a responsibility and not an act of punishment. Bear in mind that you as a boss can also do it. It could also include paying school fees or helping sort out family emergencies.

Gist Partner
Where are all my storytellers domestic help? Some people’s love language is gist, expressing themselves, having someone to share their burdens with. If you can afford the time and really be there for someone, why not?

Job Perks
This includes health insurance, pensions scheme, bonuses, flexible schedule, paid sick days, paid time off, providing groceries, etc. The same way employees at corporate organizations stay loyal to a company because they have a good welfare packages is the same way domestic staff stay loyal to individuals they work for.

It is not debatable that you pay for the services of your staff. However, there is a difference when people carry out services out of obligation, and when it is done out of a willingness and a desire to make you happy. The result of the later far outweighs the former. I will suggest you break the walls and employ these love languages. The impact will be long lasting, and further serve as a future motivation for your domestic helps.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Elizabeth Ajetunmobi is a Human Resource Consultant, an educator, a Family Life Enthusiast who provides support to families, guides them in order to create systems that help families thrive. She runs a staffing and placement agency alongside a training school for semi skilled and domestic staff. Her vision is to professionalize the domestic staffing industry in Nigeria. She is an alumnus of University of Nottingham. Obafemi Awolowo University, Park Royal Finishing School, China Europe International Business School. Her experience spans several fields including Education , Family Life, Child abuse, Human Resources and Finance. She is a member of CIPD(UK), Member,ILM(UK) and Teacher’s Registration Council of Nigeria. She is a WIMBIZ mentor and has been featured on TVC news as well as a guest columnist on BellaNaija where she shares insights on how to build a mutually beneficial relationship between a domestic staff and their employers.

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