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Elizabeth Ajetunmobi: How to Retain Your Domestic Staff

Honestly, being a domestic staff is a lot of hard work. Therefore, it helps when the staff know when they will be at work or when they will be off work.



Balance for Better

Do these words ring a bell? This was the theme for International Women’s Day for 2019. I guess the theme was selected intentionally for individuals to critically assess their status quo and check areas that need adjustment, alignment and balance in their lives.

Let’s break this down to domestic staffing. How balanced is your domestic staff’s job description? Are you consistently experiencing the same challenges? Once you have gotten the hiring process right, another major aspect you want to look at is how balanced your staff’s job is.

Are they responsible for everything in your home?

Are they overworked?

Even times when you hire correctly, the job has to be properly structured so that your staff does not get overwhelmed. Here are a few tips that might help you gain the balance you desire:

Hire a live out staff
This will fit employers who are in control of their work schedules and can make it back home on time before the staff closes for the day. One benefit of hiring a live out staff is privacy and space – the direct opposite of the disadvantage of having a live-in staff. Having a live-out employee means you keep your privacy and space, as you don’t have to have an additional person living in your home. They come in the morning and leave at the end of the day.

Define working hours
This cannot be over emphasized. Honestly, being a domestic staff is a lot of hard work. Therefore, it helps when the staff know when they will be at work or when they will be off work. Even if they are a live in staff, allow them take some time off. The staff would be motivated to give their best during the working hours. This helps to improve focus on the part of the staff. When someone has no idea when they’ll be closing from work, they tend to lose focus on the job. This happens even to the most productive employee.

Do house chores yourself
Before you frown at this suggestion, there are several benefits to this: Since your home is yours, you need to be kept abreast of all that is happening around it. On the day you do the house chores or supervise directly, correct all the errors you find around and ask your staff to clean all neglected areas. Doing your chores once in a while will not throw you off balance should your staff have an emergency, and need to take some days off without prior notice. You are also modelling the benefit of taking charge of one’s home to your kids.

Get your kids involved
Let your children see the need of tidying up after themselves. Having a domestic staff is great, however, make sure your children are not laid back and are able to do things on their own as they get older. Don’t spoil them because you hired a staff. Naturally, children love to work and assist others, so give them age appropriate tasks even with your domestic staff around.

Advocate for government policies
This is really important, considering the country we live in, where one can easily relocate from one state or city to another without checks. We need more involvement from the government in the area of domestic staffing. We need a database of all Nigeria’s domestic staff and domestic staff agencies in order to monitor all activities in this sphere. I believe that it is important enough to have this sphere more structured, so that issues that have to do with family harm and child abduction will be drastically reduced. Also, when a structure is laid out, it will serve as a foundation to create more jobs, as a lot of Nigerian youths can be trained to take up domestic staff jobs.

A recent poll carried out revealed that a lot of domestic staff around the world are overworked. Can you imagine one person who serves as a nanny, house keeper, cook and sales girl. These days I see a trend among household workers. They profile employers and fix their salary based on the job description. For example, the number of children an employer has will determine their salary.

More domestic staff are opting for to live out. They see a need to have their own free time when they get off work.

In the future, a lot of employers will need to speak more politely to their subordinates because more enlightened people will be in the industry. In places where you have two or more staff members, you need to clearly define their job description, or else it becomes counter productive when job roles are not defined.

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.

1 Comment

  1. Joffer

    October 18, 2021 at 7:30 am

    Excellent post. I want to thank you for this informative, I really appreciate sharing this great post. Thanks for sharing this…

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