Consistent with the saying, ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’, most employment relationships are won or lost in the first few days. Nationally, over 25% of employees who quit do so in the first ninety days on the job.
Beginning this month, The Lindquist Group is pleased to begin the rollout of its Right Start Program to help clients and candidates avoid the most common pitfalls leading to failed employment relationships.
In addition to the time and expense of hiring and rehiring staff, turnover can introduce an even costlier element…risk. Each time a new staff member joins a household, he or she gains access to sensitive information about the family’s identity, belongings, staff, and relationships.
The family and employee also engage in a legal employment relationship recognized by the Department of Labor, Department of Homeland Security, and Internal Revenue Service…which means that even employees who work for just a few weeks can create liabilities for households who do not follow sound Human Resources practices.
“There is tremendous inconsistency and confusion with respect to how families run their homes,” says Jonathan Frye, President of The Lindquist Group. “While most clients keep pace with the latest trends in human capital management in their companies, few follow the same rigorous process with respect to how they hire, train, and retain their household staff. Given the privacy and liability issues, the home warrants greater consideration.”
In fact, the IRS estimates that less than 10% of household employers in the United States pay their household employees legally. Less then 30% pay overtime as required under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and many families errantly hire their domestic staff through their companies (technically a form of tax fraud) or as independent contractors (though few domestic staff situations qualify).
Add to the mix a host of other issues that lead to failed employment relationships, and it is little surprise that many families experience low service levels and high turnover. Likewise, many domestic staff experience high work-related stress.
Common mistakes in the hiring and onboarding process…
- Vague job description, goals, and target candidate profile
- Cursory inspection of employment references
- Failure to check for criminal history or driving records
- Little or no orientation to the home and duties
- Infrequent or inconsistent communication
- No written instructions or lists of tasks
- No regular performance reviews
- No market-based compensation adjustments
- An isolating, often under-celebrated work environment
Is it worth it to let these details go? Compare the savings of hiring an illegal alien privately, avoiding payroll taxes, securing no worker’s compensation or health insurance, and investing little time or money on training or praise to the cost of an audit, a lawsuit, out-of-pocket medical claims, and ultimately…the high probability of getting to start the entire process over in a few weeks or months.
The Right Start
The Right Start Program addresses several of the most common causes of failed employment relationships. Offered initially as a complementary service to our private staffing clients, this program includes up to 4 hours of consulting across six topics relevant to getting off to a great start.
- New Hire Forms
- Job-Specific Training
- Essentials of Service
- Week One Debrief
- Retention Best Practices
Here is how the program works…
Phase 1: Before Day One
Before the selected candidate begins work, an experienced placement counselor or estate management consultant will visit with the family privately to review their goals for new employee, review roles and responsibilities, outline house rules, discuss personality preferences, develop a specific list of daily and weekly duties, and document the key elements of a sound offer letter and work agreement.
Phase 2: Day One
New Hire Forms. On the employee’s first day of work, the consultant will facilitate the preparation and completion of New Hire Forms, including:
- US Citizenship and Immigration Service’s Form I-9
- IRS Form W-4
- State and Local Tax Withholding Forms (if required)
- Work Agreement
- Job Description
- Non-Disclosure Agreement
Orientation. With your assistance, the consultant will facilitate orientation, including an introduction to the other staff, a review of the house rules, and a review of time and expense reporting.
Job-Specific Training. Often overlooked, we can then proceed to a detailed walk-through of each of the new employee’s specific duties. From cleaning to laundry, driving to childcare. Which items are to be cleaned, how, when, with what. How to get into the family’s online calendar. How to verify that homework assignments have been submitted through the school’s website.
Essentials of Service. No initial hire is complete without at least a basic review of the family’s service expectations. Etiquette, courtesy, and pleasantries go a long way to making both the new employee and the family feel comfortable around each other and household guests.
Phase 3: After Week One
Week One Debrief. Some questions take time to surface. That is why the Right Start Program includes a scheduled follow-up visit or conference call after the first week of work. We will review what has gone well and what could be even better from both the client’s and candidate’s perspective to make sure you are on the same page going forward.
Retention Best Practices. Before wrapping up the program, we will share with you any best practices that could contribute to the performance and retention of your new staff member. HR Policies, Benefits, Tax and Payroll Services, Performance Reviews, Retention Incentives, Property Manuals, sources of backup staff, training and education.
If there is additional work to be done, we can offer you a proposal or a recommendation to a qualified vendor so you get the very most from your staffing investment. If you are interested in the Right Start Program, ask your Placement Counselor for information about availability in your area.