How do I find good staff?
Hotly sought after: butlers, nannies, housekeepers and cooks are courted by employers. Because they are also difficult to find.
The domestic economy is groaning under the lack of a well-trained, reliable workforce. But it is not the only one affected by the shortage of skilled workers. “This is also felt in domestic staff,” knows Sabina Witt, founder and managing director of A&P Hauspersonal Lifestyle, which has been placing staff for upscale households at home and abroad for about 25 years. Butlers, housekeepers, cooks, nannies, janitors, cleaners, but also gardeners, chauffeurs and home care workers are sought after like the proverbial needle in a haystack, but increasingly difficult to get. Especially when the staff must meet a certain level of quality. “Upscale customers expect a lot from their employees, and their expectations have risen,” Witt tells us. Not only that the respective residences are serviced so that the employer can arrive at any minute. “It’s appreciated when chefs, for example, have studied diet cuisine. Or if childcare workers have special programs such as sign language for children,” Witt says.
Further training offers
In view of this, the agency head sets the bar high for the professionals she places. “I only place someone who has specific training in that area,” she says. Depending on the job profile, these include hotel management or home economics or agricultural school, completed training in the field of gastronomy/hotel management, kindergarten pedagogy or nursing. Only if an applicant has already worked in the respective field for a long time does Witt make an exception to this. It also offers training courses for applicants as well as already placed domestic staff to make them fit for the demands of employers. “You have to remember, a premium home is a whole different world for most. A world where you’re dealing with precious antiques and exquisite materials and fabrics that require a whole different treatment,” Witt says.
In view of the fact that excellent employees for house and park are rare and correspondingly sought-after, the topic of employer branding has also arrived among service providers. “No employee will put up with poor treatment and equally poor accommodations anymore,” Witt says. The same goes for pay: “The starting salary for a housekeeper is between 2,000 and 2,200 euros net, 15 times a year,” says Witt.
More than testimonials
But how can you tell if the applicant delivers what he promises. “It’s not just testimonials and references that matter,” the agency head tells us. In order to see what’s what, it’s a good idea to get a hands-on feel for the applicants. “Of course, you can’t overdo it. But a trial day can definitely be arranged,” says Witt. In doing so, one can not only check the technical knowledge, but also whether it fits interpersonally. “It’s already the case that the chemistry has to be right,” she is convinced.
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