Motivate and Retain a Trustworthy Helper

Motivate and Retain a Trustworthy Helper


14 Aug 2020 | 5 min read

Finding and retaining a trustworthy helper isn’t an easy task for the employers. There is a range of factors contributing to the dissatisfaction and unwillingness of the helpers to continue the employment. As an employer of a domestic worker, it seldom happens that employers try your best to retain the helpers for an extended period of time, but miserably fail in doing so. Here, we are discussing the main reasons why a helper wants to leave an employer in Hong Kong and what are the effective solutions to overcome the situation.

Reasons why a trustworthy helper wants to leave an employer and solutions for this problem

1. Feeling of Loneliness

The deadly feeling of being alone at an unknown place with no family or friends is one of the contributing factors making a large number of helpers leave the employment in Hong Kong. This feeling of loneliness soon starts building up and helpers find it increasingly difficult to reach out to others and enjoy their employment. Feelings of disconnection and isolation helpers experience become very unpleasant and overwhelming at times. The solutions to overcome this problem?

  • As an employer, be considerate about the fact that helpers are alone in a foreign place. Find common ground to bond and strike up casual conversations with them to make them feel more at home
  • Ensure to involve them in family celebrations and special occasions such as birthdays etc so that they do not miss being at home.
  • Take out some time to make inquiries about their personal life (done with professionalism) so as to get along with them.

2. Salary Frustrations

Like any other country, the employment rights of the foreign domestic helpers are protected by the law. However, lack of proper communication, not knowing the proper laws etc often leads to salary frustrations in the helpers and they decide to leave the employment without any discussion. The solutions to overcome this problem?

  • Discuss the salary details in detail with the helper before the employment begins such as the helper is entitled to a salary that is no less than the Minimum Allowable Wage.
  • Let the helper know the exact day of the month they will receive the salary so as to protect everyone’s interests.
  • Discuss and explain all the salary conditions to the helper before the commencement of the contract. It helps in bringing clarity and avoiding any problems later in the course of the employment.
  • Annual salary review is a good way to discuss about your maid salary. If your domestic helper is exceptional, your increment will take that into consideration and get you closer to the higher end of the market range!

3. Limited Rest or Privacy

Irrespective of the nature of the job, every individual needs his/her own share of privacy and enough rest to feel energized all the times. However, many times, employers fail to notice the domestic helpers need to take time off from the chores or their need for some private time. Depending on the employer’s schedules and requirements, domestic helpers often feel exhausted waking up early and going to bed late. This often leads to mental and physical exhaustion which builds up over the period of time. Adding to this problem is the feeling of weariness when there is no privacy offered to the helpers. The solutions to overcome this problem?

  • As an employer, make a proper work schedule with a definite start time, end time and proper breaks so that the helper feel rested enough.
  • Respect their privacy and consider giving your worker a specific place during the day where they can take a true break alone to feel energized.
  • Make sure to not allocate continuous work hours without any breaks. A couple hours to rest or relax in a room with a closed door is a great idea that can also help to balance out the lack of privacy for the helper.

4. Food Frustrations

All the domestic helpers on employment are entitled to either free food or a food allowance from the employer. However, it gets confusing for helpers to know when what, and how much food they are going to get and it soon leads to inner frustration. Instead of discussing with the employers directly, the shyness due to either lesser portions, disliking of the food choices etc, many helpers prefer to quietly leave the employment. The solutions to overcome this problem?

  • Offer a food allowance to the helper as it avoids any sort of conflicts over the amount of food your helper is eating or over the choice & quality of the food offered. Food allowance is a great way to prevent the conflict situations when the employers’ and helpers’ food choices don’t coincide.
  • Set a fixed date and conditions of receiving food allowance as it brings a discipline in the employer-employee relationship.
  • If, however, you decide to follow the ‘free food’ condition to the helper, ensure to set out the expectations in terms of who will prepare and serve the portion of food for the helper, is there a separate pantry or cabinet with the helper’s foods that are different from the family food etc

5. Overworked Feeling

One of the most common reasons that make the helpers leave the employment soon enough is the feeling of being overworked without enough appreciation. When their job gets too mechanical with a long chore list, frequent schedule changes, sudden un-allotted tasks, no breaks etc and the helper get the feeling of early burnout before taking the decision of leaving the employment. The solutions to overcome this problem?

  • Make a proper work schedule for the helper with dedicated time for regular check-in meetings to understand their concerns if any.
  • Set clear expectations for the helper which allows them to work in a reasonable fashion without any misunderstandings
  • Make sure to let your helper feel appreciated for the work they do. Maintaining proper communication, quick chats, and setting expectations go a long way in making the helper feel appreciated and valued.

6. Cultural Issues

Cultural and language barriers are becoming one of the primary causes of the dissatisfaction among the domestic workers. Adding to this, an undeveloped support network further adds to the issue. The solutions to overcome this problem?

  • To maintain the well-being of the domestic helper, it is the responsibility of the employer to make the helper feel welcomed and follow all the conditions set under the law for the helper’s employability.
  • To bridge the cultural barrier and make the helper feel comfortable, the employer should work on building the employer-helper relationship based on mutual trust and respect to benefit both the parties equally.

After all these efforts, if your domestic helper is making the choice to leave your family, it's probably time for you to start a new search. A lot of way are possible to find a trustworthy helper: online domestic helper agency, ethical agency, Facebook group or your own network! Use your experience to be sure to hire the best maid for your family.