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Elizabeth Ajetunmobi: Hiring New Domestic Staff Doesn’t Have to Give You a Headache… Here’s Why

Analyze how things went in 2019 with your domestic staff: Do you, as the employer, need to improve on certain things? Do you think you could be a better employer? Do you need to increase remuneration? This exercise will save you the trouble of hiring someone and then realize, later on, that they are not the right fit or you.

Elizabeth Ajetunmobi

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Hurray! Welcome to the beginning of a new decade. I trust you had an awesome holiday? This year promises to be peaceful in every sense of the word for us all.

Did your domestic staff go on break? How did you cope? Will your staff be coming back?

I know this is the period where there is vacancy in many homes and employers are looking to hire new staff.

Let me share a few tips with you to help you with your recruitment process in January:

Re-evaluate your hiring needs

The reason for this re-evaluation is that your hiring needs for 2019 might be different from this year. You might have changed jobs or looking forward to changing soon. You might have a more flexible schedule or a more rigid one, be caring for a little child or moving from one state to another. Do not assume your hiring needs are exactly the same as before. You need to critically take a look at it. Analyze how things went in 2019 with your domestic staff: Do you, as the employer, need to improve on certain things? Do you think you could be a better employer? Do you need to increase remuneration? This exercise will save you the trouble of hiring someone and then realize, later on, that they are not the right fit or you. Else, you will become trapped in the same repetitive cycle of hiring and firing, and this could impact you negatively and be stressful for you.

List the core skills and attitudes you require in the new staff

If your job is going to be more demanding, you might want to hire someone who can cook as well. Let’s take, for instance, a highly busy professional – who closes from work really late and whose job also involves a lot of traveling – having to deal with preparing breakfast, lunch, and dinner for their family. In as much as it is possible to do these things yourself, it might help if you have someone who can, at least, cook some food – even if not all. Use and check your written list of core skills and attitudes as you interview your new staff so you do not hire wrongly. Allow competence to match character because your domestic staff is one of the closest staff to you.

Do not rush the process

Hiring a domestic staff is not child’s play and should not be treated with levity. Make use your already written core skills during the interview. If someone doesn’t fit in, do not settle. Make sure you use a great staffing agency that can verify and carry out background checks on your potential staff. Let this serve as a guide and do not hire out of desperation.

Discuss staff benefits

Have this discussion during the interview with potential staff and there should be an agreement between both parties as soon as you make your selection. It is even advisable to write all of these in a letter. Let the document expatiate their monthly salary, benefits, perks on the job, staff leave for the year, insurance, etc. If you would like to carry out periodic appraisals, this is the time to discuss it. In addition, an increase in remuneration is not the only factor responsible for the high retention of staff. It includes other benefits like a day off, annual leave, training plan for staff, words of encouragement and motivation, and so on.

Have an onboarding plan

Take time to get your new staff familiar with their new work environment. Show them how to use electrical appliances and how things work in your home in general. Note that no matter how experienced your new staff is, there will be differences between your home and the last place they worked.

Plan for December 2020

Many times, employers leave things to chance and wait till their staff tells them they would be traveling for Christmas or New Year celebration. One thing you could do differently is to initiate this discussion early enough and plan accordingly. Encourage your staff to travel to see their parents, there is a correlation between effective work and happy families. Have a conversation about their leave. From experience, I realize that most staff usually look forward to visit friends and family. Personally, I believe there is nothing wrong with a staff traveling for the holiday. It’s best to have a conversation around it before you are caught unawares with the news, so you can plan.

When you have the discussion, remember not to ask: “are you visiting your parents in December?” You could ask: “when are you planning to go see your parents this year?” With the first question, your staff – who wants to keep the job – would most likely say “no, I’m not visiting them this year”. With the second question, the staff would most likely tell the truth, especially if they trust you. You also need them to visit their friends and family in order to be refreshed. You could plan this in such a way that your staff travels way before December if the end of the year will be a busy period for you. Trust me, they’ll do your work more effectively when they get back.

I wish you the best.

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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