I would like to think that I’m a good employer. My goal in life might actually be to hire just one or two more people and then find myself featured in one of those “Greatest Companies to Work At!” articles. Really, just a couple more employees and I might qualify.
Anyhoo, I really try to make sure my staff knows that I appreciate their hard work and lately it seems to have been paying off. Nanny #1 v 2.0 has been with us for a couple weeks and actually brought me flowers the other day. Apparently her last employer must have been a real class A bitch if she thinks I deserve tokens of gratitude. Jesus. I still make her wipe the childrens’ butts and do the dishes. I’m not that fabulous.
Being a good employer means several things, in my book. Firstly, pay fairly. Is it really okay to cheap out on 25 quid a week salary when you spend 10 times that on dinner out? No. It’s not. At least not to me. Especially when the job involves poo. So we pay both generously and fairly.
Secondly, I make it a point to sit down with my help periodically and make sure there are no concerns or feelings brewing that I need to address. This makes me look like I care but actually it’s entirely self-serving. Find out about problems too late and you’ll be wasting time interviewing new Nannies. No time for that.
But last week showed me one more way to keep the staff content. Show them unexpected acts of kindness. Something greater than going home an hour early. A real demonstration of thought and consideration.
Nanny #2 has been looking for a new weekday job. Not fulltime but enough to supplement her work with us. She has been interviewing everywhere and was very disappointed to have found a family she really cared for but who only needed her for half the hours she requires.
“I just don’t know what to do. They are so lovely and so right for me in so many ways but I just can’t take a job without enough hours.”
And here’s where I saw my opportunity. Fancy is nothing if not kind.
“Would it help, I mean would you like to have another day here? Maybe come mid-afternoon and do some housekeeping and then help me with bedtime and stay late so that we can go out? If it would help, we could do something like that.”
“Really? Oh my gosh! That’s so wonderful! Yes! Oh I’m going to go call the other mother now. Thank you!”
I was glad to assist. I want to see my employees happy. And if this means she has a chance to catch up on the laundry mid-week, rather than stress about doing all the ironing on a Saturday, then that’s what we’ll do. If it means that I need to find social events to fill an extra night during the week, then I guess I’ll have to ask my PA to get on the case. If that’s what it takes to be a good employer, even if it means a little sacrifice on my part, well, then that’s just what I have to do.