Friday, February 3, 2017

Free Job Descriptions

The Domestic Staff Citizen is offering a free, limited-time service to the owners and estate managers of private residential estates, to provide custom-written Job Descriptions for each of their full-time domestic staff workers. 


Q: Sounds too good to be true! What’s the catch?

A: Truthfully, the only catch of taking advantage of this totally free Job Description service would be:

1)  After each member of your domestic staff receives and agrees to a real Job Description, you may then have to deal with having a much better performing domestic staff team, one whose members now have written clarity for your expectations and will expect you to recognize their performance, based upon those same expectations, and then provide regular and frequent honest and thoughtful feedback... and that will be quite time consuming  - if done correctly.

To simply hand over the Job Description and then allow it to disappear into the back of that kitchen drawer where you keep all the old pens and rubber bands will always do more harm than good, as that would negate the credibility of your action - and perhaps a lot of other credibility, as well.

2)  Performance-based expectations which are supported through Job Descriptions will also greatly affect the relationships with your staff, as they move them away from familiar and into professional - which will create some awkward issues if familiarity is, in fact, the preferred culture you wish to create or maintain in your household. Important to note is that neither approach with your hired domestic workers is good nor bad by itself, however, always keep in mind that preparing for one type of relationship and then expecting the other is always a recipe for disaster!

In short, a real Job Description is a first step toward creating a professional work environment which is focused on specific results – and that may, or may not, be the type of environment you really want. But you get to decide.


Q: Why bother with all of this stuff? Is it really that important?

A: Most of the random scribbling we see commonly referred to as "Job Descriptions" is actually just a few lines tossed together in a rush, which may or may not focus on the actual, essential functions of the domestic staff position and the real qualifications which could be justified as necessary for performing those very same functions, nor do they clarify to whom the worker reports, nor the FLSA exemption status.

Often, what you're seeing is a section from a similar sounding job title found randomly on a job board or agency website, who copied and pasted it from another agency's website, yet it probably isn't very relevant to your own particular needs - on your estate. I’d like to change that trend in our industry and through this free service, bring attention to just how helpful clear, written guidance to staff members can be – for both the staff member and you, their employer or manager.

In fact, Gallup, in their exhaustive and infamous twenty-five year study of what best workers, everywhere and across all industries are looking for, found that knowing what was expected of them at work was... (drum roll, please)... number one! 

The best workers were not going for more money, not more vacation days, and even not casual Fridays wearing aqua blue tube tops and Daisy Duke shorts, yet instead, the best workers were found wanting this:

a clear understanding of what their employer actually wants them to do. 


Unclear job expectations will drive your BEST workers to leave your employment. 

Please allow me to repeat that:  Unclear job expectations will drive your BEST workers to leave your employment (did you notice how I both added and capitalized the word *BEST*?)

And after they leave, what remains behind on your estate will be only those workers who thrive on both hiding behind the thick fog of - and advantaging themselves through - the organizational chaos, confusion, and the service-crushing culture of it's-not-my-job. Yes, you know the staff members on your estate that I'm referring to. That’s how important it is.


Q: But job descriptions are just so hideously boring - I even hate looking at them.

A: So true! For most people - and for me, too - that was exactly the case... before I understood their enormous value to workers’ success and how to actually write them! Job Descriptions are still a tiny, teeny bit boring, but, really now, how can anyone hate looking at something which actually helps to create their success?


Could this 4-alarm fire in Sacramento have
been the inspiration behind the Toto Washlet S350?

Q: Why shouldn’t I just write someone a big check for creating my Job Descriptions?

A: Indeed! With the Dow Jones now hitting 20,000 and the economy again on the upswing, it's become de rigueur for virtually everyone across the entire economic rainbow to seek out the paid version of everything, sourcing out and writing big checks for almost every function in their daily lives, including those we used to take care of quite easily with just one hand and a bit of tissue paper... but yes, truth be known, I am truly enjoying my new remote controlled Toto Washlet S350!

However, none of those for-sale products and services, as wonderful as we admit they each and collectively are, will actually, ever, create:

1)  highly functional domestic staff service workers, or

2)  successful employer/employee relationships, or

3)  efficient family offices.

Conversely, domestic workers first knowing what's expected of them, in order for their performance to very simply be measured against the same established standards – is what, actually, always creates highly functional domestic staff service workers, employer/employee relationships, and efficient family offices.

Consumers of all types naturally attach greater value to that which they have been given the opportunity to pay gigantic, truly enormous sums of money for - and, therefore, free services are, ironically, always the harder sell! That being realized, if this totally free service encourages you to go forth and pay a midtown Manhattan attorney $950/hour to write them instead, then I congratulate you for recognizing the importance of job descriptions and moving forward on improving your domestic staff... and I have still succeeded in my goal!


Q: So... why are you providing this Job Description service - for free

A: I’m passionate about Job Descriptions and it’s quite unusual, I do admit! Most people
Rottie playtime will be competing
for your new free Job Descriptions!
expect to be paid money for something associated with what others have labeled as “work” and, when I'm not doing something resembling that, I'm often just like everyone else and you'll find me at home relaxing on the sofa, reading Better Homes and Gardens, watching Netflix, or playing with my new puppy.

Yet, because I don’t see the study of organizational behavior or the promotion of effective human resource management on domestic estates to be a burden of “work,” I am happy to engage in this, just as I would with any other hobby, without remuneration. Just as soon as I return from the doggy run park, that is.



Q: Well, OK... but are your totally free, custom-written-just-for-me Job Descriptions legally compliant?

A: I use my personally-owned HR software program to assist me, from a software company that specializes in ADA-compliant software. I believe it to be valid, although I make no assurances and I am not an attorney, nor do I offer legal advice. I frequently reference the FLSA website, which is easily available to you, also, for guidance on helping you to determine your employees' worker exemption status – an often-ignored component of employment relationships which can put you in the courtroom with your disgruntled, misclassified, invoicing, and former domestic worker faster than a New York minute!

I frequently encourage estate owners and their managers to reference one of the most popular entries on our Good Citizen Reading List - The Job Description Handbook - and also become familiar with both ADA and DOL websites. Although, if you really did all of the above, you’d probably not need my free services and you wouldn’t even be reading this posting, so, oh well, never mind!


Q: How fast can you send my new, free custom-written-just-for-me Job Descriptions?

Your JDs will be good and cheap!
A: Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of project management will know that cost, quality, and time, are the three variables in any project - and you only get two out of three! So, since this is a free service to potentially thousands of domestic staff employers and one that's also of high quality, the expendable slice of the pie then becomes the time

Please remain patient while I arrange a time to address your Job Descriptions personally with you, both by email and live phone conversation, as soon as possible. Do keep in mind I have a day job, and so I conduct this free and voluntary service only during my own, personal spare time, not on my employer's. If you need more expedient services, I congratulate you for understanding the enormous value of Job Descriptions and the scintillating positive effect they will have for your domestic workers - and I encourage you to seek alternate, faster (and much more expensive than free!) arrangements from your HR professional vendor or attorney!


Q: OMG, Jim. How can I thank you for this totally free service which will improve my staff performance, creating better service for both my property and my family?

A: It's really easy. Call me in six weeks and let me know how your domestic staff, now having clarity for their roles, have improved their service to both you and your family - and have also become, quite simply, more pleasant to be around.

And, just as importantly, I want you to now hold them accountable, every day, to this higher performance... and to recognize them as the true professionals they now are.

There! Your debt to me is now paid.  

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Now excuse me, please...  puppy's demanding attention again!






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