With a challenging year behind us and a new, hopeful one ahead, there’s no better time to take steps towards becoming a better employer to your helper–especially if you’ll be onboarding one this year. Whether you are hiring a helper for the first time or renewing your work contract with a trusted one, getting off on the right foot with your helper is key to integrating her into your household and creating a healthy working relationship. To get you started, here are three affordable and effective ways you can be a better employer and improve your relationship with your helper.
1. Be Well-Prepared For Her Arrival
The steps to hire a domestic helper can seem daunting, especially so in this age of COVID-19. However, the best way to prepare for an easy transition and pleasant experience thereafter is to create a budget, do your research and prepare for her needs ahead of time. When it comes to making a budget, you should expect to put aside an average of S$1,434 for one-time fees, and recurring annual costs of around S$12,000 thereafter. Having this in mind will ensure that you’re financially prepared before taking a step to engage a helper.
You'll also need to be well-informed on the various timelines and requirements for hiring your helper so that you can arrange for her arrival without a hitch. For instance, submitting a work permit application has a one week processing time and the In-Principle Approval letter has another three-week processing time. In addition, you'll also have to factor in any unforeseen delays or unexpected circumstances. And with COVID-19 still a real threat, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will require your helper to be covered against the pandemic in addition to the mandatory medical and personal accident coverage – before she arrives in Singapore.
Lastly, you can also prepare for your helper’s physical arrival by ensuring that she has everything she needs for a pleasant stay. This includes any cleaning supplies she'll need, instructions on her duties and some home comforts like a welcome basket or additional towels. With all these considered, you’ll be able to ensure that your helper is adequately prepared, protected and provided for when she arrives in Singapore and moves into your home.
2. Set Clear Expectations
One of the best ways to be a better employer is to set clear expectations for your helper as soon as she settles in. You can start by clearly explaining the duties that she will be responsible for, her schedule (including meal times and rest days), wages and allowances, use of her mobile devices and what to do in case of emergencies. You may also want to consider creating a physical copy of these expectations to serve as a reminder to your helper, and to welcome any questions she may have.
Speaking of questions—another helpful tip is to ask your helper questions about her understanding of the role. As she may be shy to come to you with questions at first due to a language gap or other reasons, being proactive can help avoid any hiccups and miscommunication.
3. Empower Her and Show Your Gratitude
Once your helper has settled in, it’s important to continue building a positive relationship with her and one great way to do so is through empowerment. Empowering your helper could include giving her new responsibilities in areas she excels in (just be careful not to overburden them as this may lead to adequate insurance coverage for your helper can also be another way of empowering her as this allows her to perform her duties confidently, knowing that you’ve got her covered.
Lastly, you can empower your helper by simply showing gratitude for the work she's done. This can be as simple as inviting her to eat with you at certain family meals, giving thoughtful gifts on her birthday or on holidays, and giving positive feedback when work is done well. Even a small token of gratitude, whether verbal or material can help improve your relationship with your worker as it shows her that you appreciate the work she does.
Slight Changes Can Lead to Great Improvements
While the tips above may not seem like anything drastic, even small actions – like preparing for your helpers’ arrival or providing constructive feedback on her performance – can help you become a better employer.In doing so, this can also promote better productivity, higher quality of life for your helper and create a working relationship that is set up for long-term success.