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Starting on the Right Foot with Your Household Help!

May 7, 2008
The beginning of the year is a great time to think about your life and changes and resolutions that you feel you should be making in the New Year! It is also a great time to think about your household employees, nanny, or housekeeper and what changes can be made so that your family is well cared for and your house is running smoothly.

Very often employers overlook providing their household employee review sessions to discuss problems and ways of making improvements. If you do not consider doing this from time to time, there may be some things that are disappointing to you that will never get resolved. Your employee may also have some issues that need to be discussed but are not brought out for fear that this may prompt you to fire them. The intention here is to discuss openly all the issues and make the necessary changes so that everyone is on the right foot.

So let's begin with some questions that you can first pose to yourself and then decide if these are relevant to your household situation and employee(s).

*Is there a problem with your nanny or housekeeper getting to work on time and being reliable? Is he/she sometimes coming late for 5 minutes on a regular basis -and is it becoming such a habit that there no longer seems to be a set schedule?

*Is everything getting done in the house as is required? Are there any duties that the housekeeper or nanny is slacking off on? Perhaps because you have never noted this in the past, these duties have now been entirely eliminated.

*Is there anything that just isn't being done to your satisfaction? Perhaps now would be an excellent time to break old habits and start fresh with a new approach to completing a task.

*Is there an attitude problem that seems to never go away? Maybe when you tell your nanny or housekeeper how to do something, there is a bit of resentment making it difficult for you to approach them. Are you walking on egg shells around your employee?

*Have you established what vacation time, holidays, sick and personal days that you are willing to provide this year? You wouldn't want anyone assuming something that you either are not willing to provide. You also may want to add something this year as a perk to show your appreciation for your employee's loyalty and good performance. Either case, these are important issues to have established in the beginning of the New Year.

*Are there any changes that your child is undergoing that should be discussed with your nanny regarding development and education for your child? What kinds of things should your child be exposed to this year

*This is also a good time to go over a child's new schedule for school and activities. Perhaps, there will be more driving needed and more time devoted to the children then other household activities. Or the reverse: perhaps the children are now going to be in school full time which would mean that there will be more time devoted to other household chores.

*Do you have any vacations coming up that you want to discuss with your nanny or housekeeper where you might need them to stay extra time, weekends or even go away with you? It is always best to give as much advance notice on these matters. You would also want to know when your employee plans to take vacation time so that you can incorporate this into your own schedule and get the necessary back-up for when he/she leaves.

*Overall, is there anything that happened in the last year that bothered you but that you elected to overlook because you just didn't want to get into it at the time? Why not bring up anything that might be festering and clear the air so that 1) you feel better about it and 2) you have made your employee aware that this is something that you do not want repeated.
Certainly, if you dig deep, you are bound to find one of these abovementioned issues that could be discussed to facilitate a more positive working environment for everyone.

Putting things on paper in an agreement is always useful. Putting together a household manual is the best way to be sure that all your demands and everything you have discussed with your nanny or housekeeper is clearly stipulated so there are no miscommunications.
About the Author
Marta Perrone, author of How to Find, Hire, Train and Maintain Household Help. Free report: Top 10 Mistakes Household Employers Make When Recruiting Help.
http://www.domesticpublications.com, http://domestic-connections.com, http://martaperrone.com
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