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Are You Making These Domestic Staff Management Mistakes?

You may agree with me that to have a successful and drama-free maid experience in Nigeria or even Africa is no small feat. I have met employers who have had quite a high number of staff pass through their homes; some great, some terrible that they have become so unsure of what works anymore.
When you meet an employer who has a great staff or is having a great maid experience in this part of the world, ask them what they are doing to make it work. I can be almost certain you will get answers like “It’s just God”. “I don’t even know”. “Maybe God saw that I had suffered too much in the hands of maids and agents and decided to compensate me”.
A large percentage of employers do not know nor have the basic skills and adequate knowledge to be maid employers. They flow with the tide. And so if a good staff leaves and someone who isn’t as great replaces them, employers cannot replicate the results they got with the great staff or teach their knowledge to help these not-so-great maids serve their purposes in their homes and become great too and start to thrive.
Because of the absence of these skills, I find employers making so many mistakes without even knowing. Some of them are done with the best of intentions but in the end do not in any way support the outcome which they desire.
From my experience in domestic staff and employer management so far, I have seen employers express a lot of “AHAs”, simply because they were enlightened and they saw domestic staff management from an entirely new perspective. For example, read what Mrs A. sent to me after a session and usage of recommended resources “The feeling I am getting as a more organized employer is enough. I feel like an employer who isn’t just gambling but actually knows what to do”.
In this post, I have decided to highlight five mistakes often made by employers that many times are done unconsciously but should be consciously stopped if you want to have a drama-free maid experience.

  1. A poor or total absence of an on-boarding process.

On-boarding is defined as the “action or process of welcoming and integrating your new maid into your home and familiarizing her with her new job”. Some of us employers don’t understand how important it is to receive our maids into our homes the right way. It sets the right tone and gives precedence to occurrences after that.
Your last maid left impromptu and left a lot of work undone; Dirty uniforms, sheets, scattered room and store etc. Some employers would decide to leave those chores undone for the new maid to inherit. No soft landing at all. Then after she washes or arranges, you spend the next hour correcting her on a better way to do it.
How about your maid resuming to a perfectly clean house, well arranged room, cleared sink and sparkling environment, so that without you having to say much, she has a picture of how you want your home to be and you can show her a physical example?
These are a few ways you can do this.

  • Don’t welcome her with chores.
  • Don’t expect that she will jump to do chores as soon as she resumes. She may want to but is not yet familiar with how you may react and so she may relax a bit. It doesn’t mean she’s lazy.
  • Prepare a welcome pack for her (Toiletries, a simple note, work schedule, neat uniforms if needed, bedsheets etc)
  • A personal introduction to every part of your home and a simple explanation on how you’ll want it cleaned.

I will discuss steps to a perfect on-boarding process in detail in another article.

  1. You have turned your maid into an emotional dumping ground.

There are days someone annoys you at work and guess who you are going home to pour your frustration on? Your maid of course. She has tried to understand why you leave home happy and satisfied with her then come back grumpy. She doesn’t see you react the same way with your spouse or kids no matter how angry you get. It suggests that you value them and your relationship with them and you don’t value her. She wonders why a little error from her is met with such outbursts from you.
Dear employer, this act can send even the best maids away. No one wants to suffer for an emotion she didn’t ignite in the first place.
How can you remedy this mama?

  • Recognize that your maid is not the one who offended you.
  • Whenever you’re angry or pissed, warn her ahead so she avoids getting on your nerves by all means.
  • Delay correction until you are calmer.
  • Whenever you’re pissed from the outside, determine to leave it outside.
  • Don’t take it past your door.
    Your maid is a human being too.
  1. You give unspoken intimidation and suspicion.

When little mistakes are amplified in your mind and makes you paranoid as an employer, or you are beginning to imply outrageous things, it means you are suspicious. There’s nothing wrong with being suspicious of a new maid, but you should speak about it and it should die down with time.
If it continues for one, two or three years, you have no business keeping her in your home. Instead of acting out on your maid, address the issues that are bothering you. E.g instead of saying “so you want to steal my husband that’s why you’re wearing short clothes, tell her that you are not comfortable with her clothes and offer a replacement or a uniform. Don’t imply things that are not even there or that haven’t been auctioned out by the suspect.
When you see her wearing make-up and you start making snide remarks instead of confronting her about it upfront, you are implying that you’re intimidated….The question is “Are you?”
Meanwhile if you want to learn how to have productive confrontations with your maid, I have an audio lesson where I explain how to do it in 10 simple steps. Click her to send me a direct message if you’re interested.

  1. You are engaging in a power tussle.

You are her employer; you really don’t have to PROVE it. The moment you feel like you have to show who is boss, that’s the point you begin to oppress her. You start to do things deliberately to show her she should be subservient to you.
Some employers even go as far as involving their maids in power tussles between them and their spouses. If you do not like that your spouse sends her on personal errands without your knowledge, kindly address it with him NOT your maid. She sees him as an employer also and therefore cannot turn down a request
How can you be better at this you ask?

  • Prepare a mini organogram from the beginning of her employment and explain to her the hierarchy. Especially when it comes to errands between you and hubby.
  • You don’t have to “show” your maid. Develop rules, regulations and a list of consequences of actions so that you’re never at a loss of what to do when the time comes.
  • If it is not her fault directly, she doesn’t deserve to be punished. Don’t punish her because she’s the easiest target.

You ARE the employer. There’s no contest.

  1. You have undisclosed expectations

Let me pose a few questions to you. Hopefully you’ll be able to take some time to answer. If you are able to answer and implement these questions, you would have been able to disclose your expectations CLEARLY to your maid.

  • What do you want done?
  • How do you want it done?
  • How soon do you want it done?
  • How often do you want a feedback during the process of doing?
  • Can your maid do it the way you expect her to?
  • Can you teach her how to do it?
  • After you have taught her, are you sure she understands you?
  • Did you verify her claim that she did understand.

One tool that can save you a lot of stress that comes with talking a lot is the WORK SCHEDULE. It gives your maid an immediate view into the detailed scope of work you would want her to cover. At MAIDforME, our work schedule is one of our best selling resources. Do you think you may need one for your maid? Click her to send me a direct message and we’ll get started.
So which of these five mistakes do you think you are guilty of and how soon do you think you can remedy the situation?

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