How to structure your household staff?
The smooth and successful running of your home will be in part due to the right staff but also having the right staff structure in place.
The right staff structure gives every staff member clarity on what everyone’s individual duties are so they’re more effective and efficient. It also gives you a clear measure later on when you come up to staff reviews.
Where to start?
Make a list of all the areas in which you need help and concentrate on each area in turn. Might be housekeeper, cook, driver, nanny or butler.
Now get into the nitty gritty. Take the role of driver for example. Write up the job description in detail. What hours they will be required to work, what duties are expected of them, majority long or short journeys, will they be transporting family, business associates, friends etc, vehicles they will be driving, whether they are responsible for the administration of the vehicles, will they need help vehicle administration, valeting etc. Work out the details for each area of need.
Now write up a detailed summary of the family and/or household. Location of each residence, children, pets, whether the role will be live-in or live-out. It’s important to give an overview of the family and/or household to give an overview of the characters, whether the employer has a preference for gender or languages spoken. The more elaborate you are about you and your family, the easier it is to find staff who match your requirements.
Who are your staff reporting to?
If you employ a domestic couple or more, be clear who each person reports into. Whether it’s a house manager, private PA, Chief of Staff, Housekeeper etc. Staff often find it easier if there is one person for them to report into. The more complicated the structure, the more time consuming the report back process. Don’t allow interface time with everyone in your household – it’s just take-up lots of time and won’t be good for efficiency.
One of our top tips for employing household staff is set up annual staff appraisals. And if you can tie them in with Christmas time you can link them up with annual/Christmas bonuses - which always go down well!
If you’ve got more than one home, encourage good team communication across your properties. What you’re trying to achieve is a strong cohesive team across everything. If a system works well in one property, it may work well in another. Encourage your house manager to have regular, quarterly meetings with his or her team of staff.
The key is for your staff to have really positive relationships with house managers across your other properties. Especially if it’s a holiday home which might not be inhabited for some of the year and staff might be slightly left adrift.
For details of our very latest private household vacancies visit our jobs pages or to sign up for one of our many training courses, eg: Silver Service Courses, or Dinner Party & Knife Skills training visit our training pages.