May 27, 2011

Effective Communication for Private Service Professionals

Your staff has to perform at a level that reflects your standards, which in turn must reflect your employer’s standards.  Anything short of this will cause consternation. The time and effort needed to resolve problems can ultimately be costly to you and your employer. Through “Effective Communication” and “Preventative Managing”, you can achieve high standards while maintaining a strong and positive working relationship with your staff.

Here are 5 suggestions:

1.    Procedures & Job Descriptions
2.    Proper Training
3.    Establishing Rules & Boundaries
4.    Periodic Review Sessions
5.    Mutual Respect & Professionalism

Beginning with Procedures  & Job Descriptions– for each position, it is best to do a thorough Manual describing each specific job title, your expectations, how to accomplish these duties and what to do when problems occur.  It isn’t enough to just have a conversation – people need guidelines and manuals in place to fully understand. This way they can review procedures and there are no excuses for failing, other than of course not reading the manuals or implementing the procedures. The more information and guidance you can give an employee, the better your chances that this staff member will understand and know how to comply.


Next, Proper Training is needed to ensure that things are done exactly as you want them.  Let’s take the simple idea of making a bed:  everyone has their way of doing it, but there is only ONE way that your boss wants that bed made, and it better be done that way.  Here is where you need to have the necessary knowledge of how to do these things yourself before calling yourself a “Manager”. You then need to do the actual training.  Granted, you would most likely not be training a gourmet chef, but you need to know enough about the kitchen, desired menus and how the chef needs to specifically operate in order to ensure that aspect of the home is running smoothly.


Thirdly, establishing Rules & Boundaries – without these, you open yourself up to pure chaos. You want to give someone a concrete idea of what they can and cannot do. You cannot just merely mention it in passing hoping it sinks in or assume that these boundaries are “just common sense”.  These  “parameters” need to be written down and discussed at length. Remember you are doing “Preventative Managing” and just like preventative healthcare, you are doing everything possible to avoid an issue from existing and growing beyond repair.


What are some examples of staff members “Crossing Boundaries”:

•    Punctuality and Reliability – no lateness unless it is a dire emergency and if you are being counted on to do something, you must do it.

•    Avoid Switching Schedules, especially with other employees – they must approach you to make any changes in the schedule. You want to also urge them to stick to the schedule and only make changes if it is absolutely necessary.

•    No Gossiping – this is the toughest one – we all know what happens when you get a few women together (I say women because they are more likely to do this than men) They LOVE to talk and the conversation at work is usually about the employer, other employees and maybe even you.  The idea here is that you must establish clearly that if there is gossip and you become aware of it, this will be a warning and could ultimately cost them their jobs. You must be imperative about this, because gossip is exactly what causes “mutiny on the bounty”.

•    Direct Line of Communication – if there is a problem, you want to stress that this problem MUST be discussed with you only. In the case of a staff of housekeepers, you may consider hiring an executive housekeeper to handle this issues and then bring the matter to you, or have the issue come to you directly with or without an Executive Housekeeper present.

Another way to ensure good staff relations is having Systematic Periodic Review Sessions to ensure that there are no issues festering. This way you are “nipping in the bud” any concerns that you might have with their performance, attitude, etc., and it allows the employee to express concerns or issues they may have themselves. It is also necessary to document everything you discuss.


Finally, you want to maintain a level of Mutual Respect and Professionalism in order to achieve a good relationship with your employer, employees as well as venders. This means learning how to communicate professionally to get the message across without alienating anyone.  This means knowing how to give constructive criticism in a respectful manner.


Ultimately, your goal is to be sure that everyone is doing their job properly and maintaining a high level of professionalism, respect, and proper communication to ensure that the home is running smoothly and efficiently.

 

Article courtesy of Marta Perrone, Household Hiring & Training Expert

www.martaperrone.com

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