The Importance of Clear Communication with Household Staff
Successful management of household staff requires effort, especially when you’ve got more than one staff member in various interconnected roles. Learn why communicating clearly with your household employees is so important, as well as how you can keep everyone in your home properly informed and up to date.
Why It’s So Crucial
In order for you and your employees to work together and achieve the best results, you need to be able to understand one another. The following are just some of the ways in which clear communication ensures understanding and yields the greatest success.
Provides Clear Expectations
When you first hire a nanny, butler, chef, or another domestic staff member, it’s important to sit down and discuss the job tasks and your expectations for them. However, if your wording is too vague or you forget to mention something, your new hire’s work may not meet your standards. Clearly outlining all of your expectations (ideally in writing) and going over them step-by-step ensures that your new staff member won’t be confused or miss key elements.
Keeps Everything Running Smoothly and On Schedule
As anyone who’s ever managed a tight schedule can tell you, staying in touch with your team and keeping everyone properly informed is important to make it work. Good communication between your family and staff—and between staff members themselves—can make your household run like a well-oiled machine. If you fail to correctly communicate work schedules, deadlines, and appointments, things fall apart.
Prevents Misunderstandings and Errors
If you’re not careful about the way you communicate with your staff, important details may be lost in the shuffle. Some things may be easy to correct, like misunderstandings about how the laundry should be done, while others may have serious consequences, like failing to inform your personal chef of a guest’s food allergies. Make sure all details are shared clearly and are written down when necessary so that everyone has the information they need to do things correctly and safely.
Sets an Example for Communication and Teamwork Among Household Staff Members
As a manager and leader, you have the responsibility (and opportunity) of modeling the kinds of behavior you expect from your employees. Communicate openly and clearly with your staff at all times to set a good example. When your domestic staff members see that strong communication skills are a necessity, it should become a normal part of operations in your home. Not only will your staff learn to communicate with you appropriately, but they’ll likely also begin to communicate more clearly with one another.
Reduces Stress and Boosts Morale
When everyone is on the same page and the entire household is operating smoothly, your staff is able to do their jobs comfortably without worrying that they’re missing something or that they’ll run into some unexpected surprise. Because everyone feels well-informed and in control, the overall stress of the workplace comes down. Similarly, staff members who feel they’re getting the communication they need are likely to have better morale than those who feel like they’re not getting the whole picture.
Problems Get Resolved More Quickly
Good communication skills should help you and your staff prevent problems, but that doesn’t mean things will never go wrong. When problems do arise, things can be addressed much more quickly and calmly when everyone is kept in the loop and relevant information is communicated clearly by appropriate means.
For example, imagine you’re hosting a large-scale event that requires the help of multiple staff members. If the event hits a snag, a team that is skilled in communicating with one another will be able to identify the problem, brainstorm solutions, share updates, and carry out an action plan more readily than a team that doesn’t have those skills.
Fosters a Culture of Honesty, Professionalism, and Respect
It’s okay to speak in a friendly, comfortable manner with your staff, but using clear language and communicating efficiently is a great way to create a positive work environment. If your staff members feel lost due to poor communication, they may take it as a sign of disrespect and behave less professionally. When everyone feels that they’re being included and they are getting the information they need, they will likely feel more valued and continue to act professionally. Staff members are also more likely to feel comfortable expressing their thoughts honestly.
How to Communicate Clearly with Domestic Staff
There’s no question that clear communication is key to household staff efficiency and success, but it’s not always obvious where to start. Here are a few ways you can establish a strong line of communication or improve an existing one for the best possible team function.
Provide Both Verbal and Written Communication
Sharing information verbally and providing written information are both perfectly good methods of communicating. However, both options have their shortcomings. Verbal information may be easily forgotten or misremembered if it’s not written down, while written information doesn’t have the same context or opportunity for discussion as verbal communication. The best way to ensure that information is fully received and stays with your staff is to share it both verbally and in writing.
This also covers your bases regarding any professional agreements you make as an employee and employer. Even if something was said in a verbal conversation with a handshake, it won’t be recorded or legally enforceable without some form of written and signed documentation.
Share Important Information Directly
While it’s certainly easy to share information with one staff member and ask them to pass it on to others, some things should be addressed directly. If there is a major change to job duties, scheduling, or expectations, you should make sure each staff member hears the news from you and has the opportunity to talk with you about it.
Even if you have very strong trust in a particular staff member’s ability to relay information correctly, there is always the possibility of it being misrepresented, as in a game of “telephone.” Asking one staff member to relay important information to the others may also create resentment among staff members who feel like they’re being bossed around by a coworker.
Find a Good Way to Keep Everyone on the Same Page
It’s important to provide tools and create opportunities for communication, especially if you have a large family or are managing multiple staff members. Things like calendars, family bulletin, boards, scheduling apps, and even group texts can help everyone keep in touch and stay aware of key information via one easy-to-find resource.
Encourage Staff to ask Questions or Request Clarification
True communication is a dialogue, even when you’re the one initiating it. Whenever you share information with your staff, allow them the opportunity to respond. Let them know that they are welcome to ask questions, request clarification, or voice any thoughts they may have. This will lead to honest, open discussion and encourage staff members to reach out any time they have questions or concerns in the future.
Looking for Private Household Staff? Staffing at Tiffanie’s Can Help!
The best way to ensure that you can communicate well with your staff is to choose candidates who display strong skills from the beginning. At Staffing at Tiffanie’s, we make it easy to find the most skilled and qualified domestic staff by pre-screening applicants for you. We’ll present you with a selection of candidates for interview, and we’ll help you with all the paperwork needed for hiring. Throughout your staff’s employment, we’ll be on hand for convenient management support.
To learn more, call us at (866) 484-5550 today.