Okay, before anything else, I am HARDLY an expert. I am a mom of an almost two year old boy and still find myself stumbling, regretting, celebrating, regretting, and celebrating again. I don’t have a lot of answers, but because I have been incredibly supported by moms especially when I was going through my post-partum blues, I promised myself that I will share what I can and do what I can for moms who reach out for anything.
So theeeere! Fair warning, I am a nerd. So a lot of the materials here are super detailed and… nerdy. haha
Background: I have worked with artisans for all my career life so I thought of approaching our Helper recruitment and retention in the same way I approach everything in life, including work: with clarity, compassion, consistency, google sheets, and power points!
The Purpose of this Manual: Sure, our home helpers are employed by us. But more than being their employers, we are also their families away from their own families. We share our home and life with them and entrust the safety and wellbeing of our children to them.
I thought of creating an orientation manual for our helpers and yayas so that they can be best informed about their rights, our expectations, health and safety basics, and our family dynamics. As we onboard helpers, I take about an hour during their first week to present this manual, complete with handouts in clear books. It is not a one-sided manual too as I make it a point to ask them about their families, hopes and dreams, goals, and how we can support them.
This orientation manual eventually evolved into learning module that I update as needed.
What is in it – A 60+ slide module (at least that’s the template now, but my personal one is already 90+ slides long) in Tagalog that includes the following:
- Information / Bio – I give out pieces of paper that they can fill up with the information we need for filing
- Terms of service and information about the work – this includes information and policies on cash advances, salary disbursements, and details on government-mandated benefits such as SSS, Philhealth, and Pag-Ibig. I make it a point to explain all these to them so that they can also appreciate what they could do with the benefits.
- Values Sharing – this part is where I discuss the values in our family that are important to us. I also ask them about the values that are important to them.
- Important reminders on the following:
- Social Media Safety and Fake News identification
- Safety & security in the home
- Common modus of criminals who target homes and children
- What to do in case of emergency – fire, earthquake, typhoon, blackouts, etc.
- Important numbers to call in case of emergency
- Ending our service agreement / employment – this is where I set expectations on leaves, causes and grounds for termination, lead time to inform us when they are leaving for good / resigning. We also establish that there is an incentive if they stay for at least a year and if they inform us that they are leaving at least 30 days before their last day.
- Some Perks and Benefits of being part of our family – this is where I explain that when we go out with friends or for work, they will always be introduced by name to people we know. We will also always respect their privacy and give ample time to connect with their families.
- Specific information on how to take care of Miguel – when Miguel was much younger, the instructions include breastmilk thawing, food choices for Miguel, bathing instructions, rules on taking photos and posting on social media, rules on kissing Miguel, etc. But now that he is bigger, the instructions include rules on screen time, age-appropriate discipline, learning plan, among others.
How to use this manual – I suggest you download it and make it your own! We all have different ways of parenting and different situations. I am a working-business-mom but with very flexible hours so my manual is very specific for my schedule, process, and lifestyle! The template that I’m sharing is bare bones though, so you could definitely customise it according to what works for you.
One of the things I also do to reinforce the contents of the manual is to hold weekly meetings with our household staff. haha I know, just like a company! I say it is the most important company though! Every Monday morning, I gather our staff and discuss food plan, lesson plan (for Miguel), and some reminders – especially if there are things in the manual that are being forgotten or neglected. The weekly meeting is a great venue to make reminders and even gentle reprimands more professional rather than emotional.
The Results so far – I’m quite happy with the results of this whole process so far! 🙂 Our home team is part of our family and we could do what we do because of them. The few hours that I have invested in creating and sharing this module to our home staff made our lives so much easier! We are definitely a team. =)
And of course, here is the link to the Module!
Photo by: Owee Yulo