Hiring household help is not just a piece of cake; you need to be in it for the long haul. There are several aspects that you need to keep in mind before hiring household help across a variety of functions like housekeeping, maintenance and cooking. The first aspect is that it is very difficult to find skilled and trained household help in our country unlike European countries where this is an organized sector requiring particular qualifications. This is why you should either take two approaches towards fulfilling your requirements.
The first approach does not concern itself so much actual training and skills but seeks to mold individuals over the passage of time in a manner that befits one’s actual requirements. This process is a little time consuming though and may require you to bond with the individual at a basic level and earn his/her loyalty and respect before he/she starts absorbing your needs and requirements mentally. The second approach does not take such a detailed route; you simply wait for a skilled individual to turn up before actually hiring anyone. The approach you take is irrelevant in the end though as there are a few things that you should always keep in mind while hiring household help.
Benefits are a big issue along with working hours. The latter aspect needs to be addressed clearly at the very beginning of his/her tenure. Household help comes at a steep price in most metro cities and that too for fixed working hours. However, the flexible nature of the job often violates the basic precedent of fixed timings. As a result, many staff members often start demanding hikes after only a few months citing instances where they had to perform duties beyond their actual listed requirements or had to spend extra time working for you when they could have been elsewhere. These are issues that you will have to deal with in a calm and collected manner. The best way to nip all this in the bud is to have a clear and frank discussion with any aspirant before hiring him/her on a full time basis. During this discussion, approach the issue of working hours and job duties in a crystal clear manner. Make all basic duties clear to the individual concerned and have a clear policy in place for all those days when his/her duties or working hours exceed the agreed limit. This will help you avoid all future hassles related to these two aspects.
Additionally, you are expected to give periodic increments. Staff members can ask for yearly increments or even raises after every six months or so. In cities like Mumbai, simply hiring a staff member is an expensive proposition, let alone periodic increments. You should be clear about what you are getting into. Commit to a reasonable figure with regard to yearly increments. You are also expected to shell out extra as special bonuses for festivals and celebrations like Diwali or Ganesh Chaturthi or Durga Puja depending on your location and the predominant festival celebrated there. Always get working terms cleared out with the individual before hiring him/her on a permanent basis. Come to an understanding regarding the yearly increment amount along with bonus amounts for festivals.
You should always possess two recent photographs of your staff member along with xerox copies of at least one or two photo IDs including his/her Voter Card, Aadhar Card or Ration Card. This is a must in order to ensure basic grievance redressal in case of any unforeseen mishap or foul play. It is advisable to submit these details to your nearest police station as a precautionary measure. This will guarantee increased peace of mind to an extent. Additionally, you should also do a thorough background check of who you are hiring. Take care to ensure that the person does not have any violations or other records.
If possible, you can ask for details of previous employment and the names and professions of employers. It is better to have one or two references to fall back upon in case of any unforeseen situation. It is always advisable to have one or two contact numbers of your domestic help and his/her family members stored on your phone for swift communication. Verify that the numbers are actually in use. Always learn about the place of residence of the person concerned and visit his/her home once if possible.
Always ask him/her to clearly tell you about his/her schedule and how many other households they work for. This will help you plan things without any possibilities of conflicts. Have a clear absenteeism policy in place in order to check the same without being harsh. You should also enquire about any life insurance that your household help may possess. If he/she does not possess basic insurance, you should take the lead in getting him/her insured under basic Governmental schemes at least. This will be a goodwill gesture and is also partly your responsibility as his/her employer.
Your household help may ask you for sudden financial help or loans. While you should definitely not turn your face away to a genuine request, it is always better to have a written agreement as to the terms of the repayment. Most staff members insist on a certain amount being deducted from their monthly fees or salaries. Get more information about the entire situation before handing over the money to him/her. Be careful about what you discuss or converse about in front of your household help especially if it pertains to personal, financial or other details that you do not wish to be made public. This is imperative especially when the person is still new to the household.
Following this guide will help you get the possible person for your needs and ensure smooth and hassle free experiences ahead! Getting good household help is possible but you should know all about handling him/her in the best possible manner for greater harmony and peace of mind.
Mahesh Mehta is Chief Editor at 5 Random Things. He is known for his creative online marketing skills and specializes in handling web marketing efforts and boosting online conversion.