The following is a guest post from professional Nanny, Cate Matijevich. The views in this article are hers alone.
National Nanny Recognition Week is Sept. 22nd - 28th, a great time to use the advice below!
A household employee’s role is to fit seamlessly into a private household, perform their duties independently, proactively and often invisibly. It is easy to understand why in the daily hustle and bustle of life, commending a job well done can be overlooked.
I am pleased to open another chapter in the little gold book (first chapter here), Chapter Five: Navigating how to show appreciation, respectfully and thoughtfully, in the household workplace.
Domestic staff members work in what can sometimes feel like an isolated environment and often do not have adult co-workers or work related gatherings at which to socialize. When efforts are recognized, the show of appreciation tends to go a long way.
Taking into consideration the professional atmosphere, consider asking creative “getting to know you” questions early on. Examples can include: “What’s your favorite color?", or “Do you have a favorite author?” These questions, as simple as they are, show genuine interest and can also function as a compass when navigating through the various ways of showing appreciation.
So, when is it appropriate to show appreciation? Birthday? Holidays? Just because? The answer is, Yes! Here are some examples of ways you can show appreciation to a household employee for a job well done:
- A day off. This can be a surprise day or planned day. The day off is appreciated, the notice is an additional level of thoughtfulness.
- Tickets to a show. Tickets require some extra effort with regard to asking “getting to know you” questions. Some ideas: Tickets to the ballet, an art show, musical, book reading with their favorite author, interactive experience, etc. The cherry on top would be adding a gift card for supper at their favorite restaurant!
- Vehicle detailing. Some domestic staff furnish their own vehicles for work related purposes. Offering to have the car detailed shows that you appreciate this, and that you want to help minimize the impact this has on their vehicle.
- Something from children. Nannies are often the ones assisting with crafts from the children to help celebrate family and friends. Nannies cherish these precious gifts as well. Some ideas might include: A framed hand print with a nice message in their favorite color, a drawing, or perhaps have the child help bake the nanny’s favorite treat.
- Travel Incentives. Travel perks are always a fan favorite. Most airlines and vacation sites offer online gift cards for luxury services, to show a little extra appreciation to a household employee who is helping assist a family on a trip.
- Conference expenses. Continuing education can be costly, and often requires the employee to request the use of several vacation days. Adding in 2-3 professional development days to a compensation package is a great perk to add into your work agreement during the annual raise and review period.
In summary, showing appreciation, respectfully and thoughtfully, in the household workplace, doesn’t have to be costly. Thinking “outside the box” and asking “getting to know you” questions early and often can help you when navigating through ideas of ways to commend a job well done. Recognizing your employee’s above and beyond efforts shows that you appreciate them and the work they do. This encourages them to continue the good work, a win-win, if ever there was one.
Cate Matijevich from Chicago, Illinois has been in the private service industry for over 13 years. Being a Nanny and managing principal’s homes is her passion and brings her the utmost joy in life. Cate is an avid learner, always seeking the best solutions for the children and their families. She enjoys staying current with child-rearing trends and ongoing professional development training. Cate actively participates in events that support the nanny industry, including traveling internationally for conferences and to support groups she is a member of. Her desire to strengthen and grow international nanny relationships is a proud goal.