The number of homes who hire domestic staff, such as a House Manager, team of housekeepers, a gardener, a private chef, etc. that do not conduct regular staff meetings always amazes me. Yes, yes I know that time is precious and that staff is hard-pressed to get their daily jobs done. I understand that. I also understand that in a busy household there is almost never the right time for a staff meeting.
Here is the thing worth considering though. I would argue that the serial failure to conduct regular staff meetings represent missed opportunities to inform, train, team-build and be advised of current or looming problems. Staff meetings need not be long and drawn-out affairs. In fact, I argue that meetings that go beyond a half hour have reached a point of diminishing returns. People tune out, wonder why they are there and minds wander towards all the tasks that still need to be completed by day’s end.
Below are some suggestions for conducting successful Household Staff Meetings:
- Meetings should be conducted as regularly as possible. There will always be an excuse to cancel a meeting. This does not mean, however, they should be cancelled. In fact, the more meetings can be consistently scheduled, the more meetings become entrenched expectations among staff.
- Explain to your employer why staff meetings are important. Often employers might conclude that the laughing they hear in a staff meeting is more about their staff “goofing off” than their employees coalescing as a team. There is a difference, and it matters.
- Be organized. House Managers should know exactly what they want to say and accomplish in each meeting. Rambling, unstructured and non-directional meetings defeat their purpose. A lack of focus is guaranteed to generate a lot of eye-rolling and thoughts of “here we go again” from employees each time a meeting is scheduled.
- Make sure your staff know the meeting’s agenda. Sometimes this can be accomplished with brief introduction or even a handout.
- Do not try to cover too many subjects. The best staff meetings are the ones that have a clear and concise agenda. Subjects might include upcoming events, the family schedule, work that is scheduled in the house or problems that occurred during the preceding week.
- Try to incorporate an area of training. If time permits, I always think it is a good idea to finish with one item that reinforces a household standard. It might be something as simple as how to answer the telephone and take a message to a point of security like handling an unexpected vendor seeking access to the house.
- Praise employees when praise is merited. It is something of a theme with me that employers infrequently praise their staff. It behooves the good House Manager to step into the gap and praise, without overdoing it and causing embarrassment, an employee who went above and beyond. Make sure to spread the praise around. Do not leave out staff members as they will be sure to notice and so too will their colleagues.
- Keep an eye on the clock. Do not belabour points. State the item, ask for questions and move on.
- Time sensitive agenda items should be addressed first. Invariably not all agenda items are addressed in a single meeting. For this reason, important items should be front loaded.
- Follow up with your staff and employers. Ensure that every one is on the same page by following up with a bulleted summary. The practice reinforces the points made, clarifies miscommunication and informs the employer of exactly what was accomplished.
House Managers should look upon staff meetings as opportunities as opposed to hindrances. The key behind every successful staff meeting is that they are relevant, informative and to the point. By following the above guidelines, House Managers augment the professionalism within the household, validate the roles of employees and, hopefully, improve the running of the residence and the lives of their employers. Each of these is a good thing! Mission accomplished.
Article written by Scott Munden who is the founder of Portico Staffing. Private service professionals can learn more about Portico Staffing by visiting their website >>> https://www.porticostaff.com