By: Gold MacIvor (guest blogger from Belle Maison Agency)
As a business manager, your clients rely on you to advise them on a myriad of topics. One area where they may come to your for assistance is private staffing, which includes personal assistants, nannies, housekeepers, estate and house managers, chefs, chauffeurs and any other help they may require in their homes. We have compiled this list of five things to keep in mind when assisting your clients with their domestic staffing needs.
1. Have any prospective employees sign an NDA.
Whether in a home or office, there are many instances when an employer will want to protect their privacy. Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) are a standard and often-used method of keeping personal information private.
2. Educate yourself on what it means to become a household employer.
By law, if you hire someone to work in your home (as a nanny, housekeeper, personal assistant, etc.), they become your household employee and you are their employer, and with this relationship comes tax obligations that many people don’t take into account. It is best to consult a domestic payroll expert as these laws differ from corporate payroll obligations.
The good news is that with these tax responsibilities come tax opportunities, including childcare tax breaks, medical care tax breaks and health insurance tax credits. There are also non-taxable forms of income you can offer an employee, such as a health insurance stipend, transportation reimbursement or money toward their college tuition. Again, it is best to consult a domestic payroll expert who can help you maximize the benefits that are available!
3. Set expectations early on.
Before you even begin to look for candidates, draft up a job description. Beyond schedule and salary details, a job description can serve to set expectations about what is required in the position. Writing out things like daily responsibilities, required qualifications and any other pertinent details will not only help candidates understand the position but can also help you fully understand your needs as well.
You can also apply this idea once you are ready to make an offer to a candidate. A basic offer should detail the schedule, hourly rate and start date. Beyond this, it is very helpful to outline the job description and set expectations regarding things like benefits, paid time off and when to expect a performance review. It’s easy to get swept up in the desire to have your new employee start as soon as possible, but six months down the road if either of you have a question relating to vacation accrual or benefits, it will be easy to refer back to this document that you both signed.
4. Trial before you hire!
So you've interviewed someone that you think is a perfect fit, and you can’t wait to make them an offer. Great! But one of the best things you can do before hiring someone is to trial them for a period of time to ensure that it’s a good match. Additionally, a trial is a good training period to show your employee how you like things done. Remember to communicate your feedback to the candidate during this time, and be open to hearing their thoughts as well. Bringing someone into your home can involve a learning curve for both of you, so communication is key! In the end, you may realize that this person is not going to be a good fit, and that’s ok. While you may be excited to bring someone on board, you can save yourself a lot of disappointment if you find out someone isn’t a great fit before you officially bring them on.
5. Consider working with an agency.
Securing qualified and reliable domestic care is no easy task. Given the abundance of information online, searches can be time consuming, and it can be difficult to decipher which candidates are the right fit for you. Partnering with an agency offers you the comfort of knowing that someone is working for you to screen, vet and select the absolute best candidates. From the start, a domestic staffing specialist will help you figure out your needs, advise you on the current candidate market and help you attract the most qualified candidates. Rather than sifting through hundreds of under-qualified resumes, you’ll receive hand-selected candidates that have been thoroughly vetted and background checked. Throughout the interview process, your staffing specialist will listen to your feedback and work to tailor the search to your specific needs and wants. When you find someone you love, you’ll have a resource who can guide you through creating a work agreement and making sure that everyone is clear on the terms. And perhaps most importantly, your relationship with your staffing specialist will continue beyond the initial placement. They’ll always be available to advise you on issues, big or small, that may pop up during your relationship with your employee.
About Gold MacIvor (GHJ guest blogger)
Before co-founding the Belle Maison Agency, Gold spent many years serving high-profile domestic and corporate clients as a respected and award-winning personal assistant and estate manager. This included providing 24/7 care, being entrusted with critical financial accounts and maintaining the utmost discretion in handling individual and estate resources. Such work required intensive logistical oversight, strategic management and interpersonal communication — a powerful combination of skills that she now employs on behalf of families seeking premier domestic staffing solutions.