Staff Retention and Household Prosperity
The inability to attract or better yet keep new staff is one of the top dilemmas facing employer families today. Many families know the value of hiring key employees and the importance of keeping these men and women on board. The loss of an integral staff member can shake a household’s foundation and cause distress for the family as well as the staff members.
In recruiting and retaining domestic staff, families must take into account several critical factors including their recruiting strategy, compensation plans, short and long-term incentive plans, culture, and employee recognition. The time to address retention is now.
Why Domestic Workers Quit?

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Many employers believe that money is the top reason employees leave their jobs. This simply
is not so. While compensation is important to everyone, when you look at the big picture it
does not provide a complete answer to why domestic staff leaves employers.
 
Consider a recent survey developed by The International Guild of Professional Butlers,
whereby domestic staffs were asked which of the following is most likely to cause

good employees to quit their jobs.

Their responses were as follows:

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Lack of recognition
42%
Limited advancement
21%
Inadequate salary and benefits
14%
Unhappiness with employer
11%
Bored with job
7%
No response
5%
Given the importance of finding and keeping top staff, we would offer the following suggestions on how to address retention in your household:
Hire the right individual to begin with
Without a doubt, the single biggest reason an employee does not work out is the lack of fit within a family culture. As a potential employer, you should develop a detailed job description, making certain the person you hire “fits” your culture and the competencies needed via a thorough recruiting and interviewing process. Engaging an outside search firm may be an excellent option as well. Lastly, take the time to integrate this new person into your household through orientation, training and providing resources to them in their move and transition.
Provide Growth Opportunities
Keep in mind, advancement does not always mean moving upwards in the organizational chart. Providing the opportunity to lead a team on a specific project for instance can provide challenge and growth. If you look for ways to keep staff challenged and learning, they will stay. When you stretch the perceived capabilities of a high-performing staff member, they may surprise you with what they can do, and the risk will pay dividends down the road with better retention and employee motivation.
Recognition
Everyone wants to be appreciated and recognized for the hard work they put in. Your goal in recognition should be to strengthen the bond and affiliation an employee feels with the household. Recognition should be sincere and public when appropriate. It’s the day-to-day interactions household staffs have with their employers that can often make the difference between motivating or losing a key staff member.
Culture
Every household has a culture associated with it. One way to find out what your culture is currently saying about you is through employee feedback. Provide channels through which employees can voice their opinions and speak out. Exit interviews can be especially important and should be analyzed. Losing staff will cost you the expenses of recruiting and training a replacement as well as lost productivity, reduced morale and lost intellectual capital. Often employers make the mistake of ignoring the causes of turnover in their household. Many employers also seem “not to care” as they will always blame the staff member who is leaving without questioning the high turnover.
Consequently, accountability in staff management is paramount. It takes teamwork on all fronts to run an effective household.