We often hear employers say they want to hire a good helper. In fact, domestic helpers also long to have a good employer. Every week before the Sunday Service, the Filipino helpers (sisters in Christ) in the Jubilee International Church share and witness the grace of God. A lot of helpers thank God for giving them good employers. Below are some items we usually hear from their sharing. I hope you can find yourself having at least one of these, if not all of these "good boss" characteristics.
Be Patient, Understanding and Accept the limitations and weaknesses of your helper- No one is perfect. Domestic helper will make mistakes, especially in the first three to six months. They are really thankful for their employers willing to teach and correct them patiently, give them chance to explain their side, improve, instead of terminating the contract immediately.
Be Empathetic- If this is your helper’s first time to work overseas, it is understandable that she will feel homesick, or have culture shock etc. It can be observed by their lack of facial expression, they look like they want to cry, keep themselves very busy in housework, etc. Sometimes you can ask the helper how she is adjusting to Hong Kong’s life and work. Comfort your helper when necessary.
Be Considerate- a good employer is compassionate, knows how to sympathize when his/her helper is suffering and will have a strong desire to help.
Be Supportive - Helpers praise employers who encourage them to participate or engage in activities for personal and spiritual growth, such as activities offered by some churches or other associations. This will equip the helper to gain more confidence and minimize the feeling of homesickness.
Be Generous- In the first month of work, the helper has not yet received salary.. Some helpers living far away from our church dare not to go to church because they do not have enough money for buying food, paying the transportation fee. But, quite a number of helpers thank God for having generous employers who gave them some pocket money so they can go to church, receive training, worship God, and join in a support group, even if they do not have salary yet.
Respect your Helper- some employers teach their children to respect their helper, and set a good model for the children to follow. They will never shout/yell at the helper even if the helper does something wrong, nor will they let their children say/do anything to insult helper. Helpers, like all humans need to feel that they are being respected, too. Shouting, yelling or screaming will not help the helper to do better, it will only make them often feel frightened of you, cause their performance to worsen and they will begin to think about resignation.
Allow Autonomy at work- If it is not the first time your helper work as helper, it’s good to give your helper more autonomy at work. Allow her arrange the work priority, steps of doing some housework as long as the outcome is good. Sense of freedom and autonomy at work results in your helper being happier, and thus becoming more effective at work.
Trust your helper- there is a Chinese saying, ‘trust the person you hired, do not hire the person if you are in doubt ” Trust is important to keeping a long term relationship. Usually, helpers like to work for those employers who trust them as this increases their confidence at work. Your helper can sense if you trust her or not.
One helper working in Hong Kong for over four years says, “A good employer helps to mold a good helper.” I believe all Arrow’s employers have potential to be a good employer. What do you think? Please give us your feedback.