How can an employer apply a management mindset when managing a domestic helper?

Management in any workplace is hard. Managing the unique employment situation and dynamic of having an employee who lives with you, who looks after you and your loved ones, and who comes from a different cultural and language background, is even harder. It takes a management mindset to navigate this employment situation successfully.

Because of this, we recommend employers of domestic helpers to keep in mind the following management tips.

Hire and manage consciously

There is a greater chance for creating a long-lasting and successful working relationship when an employer is able to both hire a helper with the right attitude and provide the helper with the opportunity to develop their skills through continuous management and constructive feedback.

Remember that employers are managers

A common mistake among employers of domestic helpers is to forget the importance of their role as a manager. While employers may see the hiring process as their main and only task, the real work actually begins once the hiring process is completed. Once an employer has entered into an employment contract with the domestic helper, the employer is not only an employer but also a manager.

Be professional

Good people can be really poor managers despite having the best intentions. That is why we encourage employers to adopt a professional approach to managing domestic helpers. A professional mindset helps you to manage and communicate role expectations and boundaries. It also provides you with a framework to train, monitor, and review the domestic helper’s performance.

Know the basics

As the legal employer of a domestic helper, an employer is also required to understand and respect the laws and requirements regulating migrant domestic helper hiring in Hong Kong. This includes both the Standard Employment Contract and the Employment Ordinance.

Bridge and manage for differences

In the unique context of domestic work, management also involves bridging differences in order to achieve a working successful relationship. These may include differences in personalities, communication styles, cultural references, and language barriers to name a few. 

Support and manage for personal issues

Domestic helpers are migrant workers living in a foreign country. For this reason employers of domestic helpers will not only need to manage work performance-related issues but also personal ones, including health, nutrition, homesickness, cultural adaptation, financial matters, family issues, etc. 

Manage family members

As the domestic helper both lives and works with the employer’s family, it is important that the employer also manages the expectations and responsibilities of their family members as well as other household members who may frequently visit and interact with the helper (relatives, confinement nanny, other part-timer service providers, etc.).