• Saturday, April 20, 2024
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BusinessDay

Getting the best from your domestic assistants

Getting the best from your domestic assistants

The staff at the domestic help agency looked at each other as Vera Musa stormed into their office. In the one year since she became their client, she’d had a turnover of 6 domestic assistants. The assistants were always blamed for the short stay, as Vera insisted that the agency kept sending her bad hands.

Vera was a social media influencer and had threatened to drag them online especially on the platforms where she had hundreds of thousands of followers. The agency had existed for 12 years and had gained a good reputation for providing high quality domestic assistants. Vera was ‘bad market’ and they needed wisdom to handle her.

The agency was a structured company with a board, and their board members were highly respected members of the society whose opinions carried a lot of weight.

They had informed one of their board members about this case. Everybody called her Aunty Angel because she was literally one, but she was a former First Lady of the state, as well as a very successful businesswoman with thousands of mentees. A meeting had been scheduled between Aunty Angel and Vera, and that was the meeting Vera had stormed into the office for.

The receptionist silently showed her into the room where Aunty Angel was already waiting. As soon as she saw Aunty Angel, her demeanour changed dramatically to that of a nice, sweet, gentle woman.

Vera could not believe that she was in the same room as Aunty Angel, who she greatly admired and had always dreamt of having a one-on-one interaction with. Her dream had just come true, but in the wrong location of this agency she regretted coming in contact with. But what business could Aunty Angel have with her?

“Hello my dear, how are you doing? It’s a real pleasure to meet you. I follow you on social media and your recommendations have been really helpful especially to my daughters. Well done on all the good work you are doing”, Aunty Angel said to Vera, who was about ready to pass out. “Heyyyy God! Aunty Angel is following me on social media? I don blow!” She said to herself.

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“Good afternoon ma. Thank you so much for your kind words. I’ve been such a big fan of yours too, from your days as First Lady up until now. You inspire me so much Ma”, Vera stuttered back as a reply.

“I’m sure that you are surprised to see me. I am one of the board members of this agency and they requested that I meet with you to help you resolve the high turnover issues you have with your domestic staff. So let me hear you out.” Aunty Angel was aware of the dragging threats but intentionally did not mention the matter.

Vera began to share about how they all got on her nerves, did not know their left from right, were always mixing things up, did not understand her, and so on. Aunty Angel allowed her finish, and then asked her if her staff underwent the mandatory 6 weeks on-boarding programme to integrate them into her household.

Vera kept quiet; she always skipped that part of staff training as she felt it was unnecessary. She felt that the staff should just be plug and play, like who trains domestic staff for crying out loud, as if her home was one corporate organisation?

As if Aunty Angel could read her mind she continued “My dear, when you train your staff, show them the ropes of how you want your home run, and develop structured procedures for them to follow, it makes the journey easier. Why don’t you go and try this with your new assistant and keep me informed about how it goes. We’ll review in 6 months.”

Six months later, she met again physically with Aunty Angel even though they had kept in touch on Whatsapp. Her domestic assistant was doing very well and she herself was happier and calmer than she had been in months. She now understood the importance of structure, planning and staff training even in the home. She was grateful.