Happy Staff, Happy House: Recruitment

It is a known fact that private household recruitment is no easy task. You may have drawn up a job description and briefed your recruitment agency on the ideal candidate. Perhaps you want them to look a certain way or have a certain mind set; share your values or interests. Whatever it is, that certain je ne sais quoi is hard to find and even harder to secure. At last, with the expert assistance of your agency, you’ve done it! You are super pleased because now you feel you can finally move on and start your new journey. Congratulations!

But before you move on, there are certain things I would advise you to consider. Things that will help make your new journey a smooth one.

I know you may be thinking that I am being overly cautious because I’m an employment lawyer who deals with household disputes arising between employers and their staff, day in day out. My clients come to me with all sorts of problems some quite personal, some more generic. Whatever their needs, the chances are that I have come across it before and wish I could have helped them to avoid it sooner; that would have certainly been cheaper!

Well, here’s my chance. I’ve been asked to write a series of blog pieces for Cora. It’s a perfect opportunity for me to share some interesting stories alongside some tips to help you avoid getting in an employment pickle.

The best place to start is surely at the beginning. In this first blog I will share some post-recruitment tips.

Top 5 tips on #happy private household recruit:

  1. Expectations – make sure you are clear on your requirements and the key terms with the agency. These should have been discussed with the candidate at the interview, been apparent at the trial and form the basis of the offer you have made to the candidate;
  2. Contract – set out those key terms in a written contract. Not only is this helpful for both parties, it is a legal requirement that the employee has this from the first day they start working for you. Legally it has to include certain terms but ideally this would also include detailed privacy restrictions, as household staff carry out a very personal role and such restrictions will protect you;
  3. Support – make sure the employee knows who their line manager is and who they can turn to if they need extra support. If you have a house manager and they are dealing, then best to leave it to them as your representative;
  4. Training – ensure the employee receives a warm welcome and a comprehensive induction. Incorporate a discussion on some house rules, boundaries and how you expect them to treat you and your family members as well as the other staff. This will form the basis of their understanding of your values and how you like things done;
  5. Management – provide your new recruit with a line manager who has had some HR training in managing household staff. Dealing with household staff is very different to dealing with office staff or carrying out admin or a finance role. Make sure the person you have put in charge knows what they are doing. Getting this right can promote a harmonious household whereas if you get this wrong, you can be held vicariously liable for their actions.

I hope you found this useful. Feel free to share it if you did, or get in touch if I can help.

In my next few blogs, I’ll share some interesting stories and tips on #don’t get in a household pickle.

Sofia Syed is an employment lawyer who specialises in advising high-net-worth clients in all aspects related to their household and business affairs.

Sofia has extensive experience in assisting her clients to recruit and manage staff who are essential to the smooth running of their household such as house managers, butlers, close protection officers, private chefs, household and estate managers, nannies, chauffeurs and housekeepers.


Happy Staff, Happy House: Recruitment