Employer Related Documents

Starting a New Exployee in Private Service

“Start of Employment” Considerations( written for House Manager position, but with some relevance to other positions)

Both Parties:

  • Review the job agreement and the job description prior to the start date.
  • Consider the that the success of service in a staffed home is measured by the satisfaction of both the employers and the employees in each other and in the results of the service delivery. 
  • There should always be the professional separation that distinguishes the two parties so as to promote efficient and business-like relations.  At the same time it is important that both parties foster positive attitudes of mutual respect and make the point of thanking each other from time to time for the opportunity to be of service to each other.  The Ritz Carlton Hotel organization has this definition of the service relationship; Ladies and Gentlemen Serving Ladies And Gentlemen.

Employer considerations:

  • Let other staff and other persons in close contact with the home know about the new hire, the reporting relationships and encourage their full cooperation.  Sometimes this is done by preparing a welcoming note that is given to the staff that explains that “Paul Jones is coming on board.  He is coming from Florida, where he managed a large home.  Paul will be responsible for the smooth operations of our home and we anticipate that you will like Paul and work closely with him to help make him successful in the job.  We would like our home to run in a business like fashion and therefore we would prefer that you to bring your issues and concerns to Paul who will keep us informed.  Of course, if it is an emergency or something of such great importance that you wish to speak directly to us, we will make time available.” 
  • At the first opportunity articulate your philosophy in regard to domestic matters.  You may state that your goal is a home that operates with a high level of efficiency in which everyone has for the most part a positive attitude and are always respectful of the other person (mutual respect)
  • Inform the new employee about any pet peeves such as being exposed to loud noises, radio, smells (kitchen, cleaning, perfume) , being visible / invisible in the employers space, expectations on how you want other staff handled, etc.  Explain how you like to be approached with questions- you might say “unless urgent, leave me a note or ask me at our daily briefing.” Or you may email questions anytime.
  • Share with your new staff person any special arrangements / accommodations that you have made with the other staff, vendors or extended family.  Example:  “John the electrician is well known to us and you don’t need to pay close attention to him when he is working on projects”. Or the gardener for Jones Nursery has been given permission to take cold drinks from the staff refrigerator”.
  • Identify a basic work station area for the new employee to conduct business / locate files, make calls, organize etc.  Normally a computer is part of this organization.  This may or may not also be the place where messages are left for both parties. 
  • Decide on the method and frequency of the inter-day communication.  Some organizations have a set spot to leave messages for each other, others use voice mail or email to keep communications current.
  • Decide how often, when and where you and the employee will sit down to review in a non confrontational setting such topics as are outlined below under the employee considerations about regular meetings.

Employee Considerations:

You will want to start by asking a lot of questions in order to begin to understand the needs and expectations of the employer as well as the specific details of why, how and where tasks are done.  A collection of household documents that relate to the operation of a home is typically called the House Book.  Study any information already available. Eventually it should include the following items:

  • Policies and Procedures:  How to answer the phone, screen calls, address the employer / guests, phone message procedures, how to handle delivery of packages, gifts, flowers, petty cash procedure, and much more.
  • A Typical Day in the Residence- A regular day at the Residence, might include listen to voice messages, view notes or email, walkthrough, set ups for lunch and dinner, routine tasks, trouble shooting problems, planning.  Note especially the opening and closing routines of the home at both ends of the day.
  • Service- Food service for the family in different scenarios, food service with guests in Preference List- food and other preferences of the Family
  • Employee Job Description- butler, chef, housekeeper (i), housekeeper (ii) houseman, nanny. employee basic work schedules.
  • House Guest Book- set up of rooms, preferences list for food.  Might include menus used when guests there previously.
  • Cleaning Procedures-General contracted, in house, deep cleaning
  • Room Books- show how a room is to look in a photo, specialized procedures for each room, includes special information on care of items in these rooms.  .
  • Inventories- inventory list for silver, linen, china, furniture, antiques, wine  photos helpful.
  • Events- event sheets, party rentals, set up for events
  • Maintenance Schedules-weekly, monthly and yearly, protecting the house, preventative maintenance schedules-heating and cooling, refrigeration, vehicles, painting, floors, carpet cleaning
  • Administrative- standard meeting agenda, monthly report format, petty cash statement format, status report form
  • Seasonal Changes and Preparations- slip covers, Christmas, Easter, winterization, seasonal garden things, hurricane preparations, Check lists, photos
  • Security Check in and out, pick up and return keys (main security “book” is  kept by security.
  • Telephone List –Includes all vendors, key numbers

Set up regular meeting times to discuss issues besides the daily events.  A “perpetual” agenda” should be maintained and ready for each meeting.  Typically the agenda will have line items for

  • Review of last weeks activities including anything unusual, accomplishments
  • Discuss new situations including new repair needs, inquiries from vendors, potential problems, repairs completed
  • Ongoing repair list with estimated completion dates-may not need to be discussed, but serves as a record of what is in progress.
  • Suggestions for items to purchase
  • Forward look-next week, next month etc.  To identify upcoming events that may need to be planned for
  • How am I doing?   Here the employee is asking the employer for feedback on job performance. This
  • Comments and observations- this is where the employee can give feedback on any matters that might effect personal performance or satisfaction.