5 Domestic Staffing secrets that will transform your experience
From the title, you are probably wondering that of all the places lessons could be picked from, we had to go all the way to Babylon. This is a story you are very familiar with regardless of the religion you favor. I am so sure you have heard a version or some part of this story somewhere. You may have never really paid attention to the fact that Daniel; the almighty Daniel was recruited as a servant. But after reading my take from it, the story will feel brand new again and I would encourage you to go back to read it (Just type it in google and it will appear) and you will definitely pick more lessons.
3"One day the king ordered Ashpenaz, his highest palace official, to choose some young men from the royal family of Judah and from other leading Jewish families.
4The king said, “They must be healthy, handsome, smart, wise, educated, and fit to serve in the royal palace. Teach them how to speak and write our language
5...and give them the same food and wine that I am served. Train them for three years, and then they can become court servants.”
6 Four of the young Jews chosen were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, all from the tribe of Judah.
7 But the king’s chief official gave them Babylonian names: Daniel became Belteshazzar, Hananiah became Shadrach, Mishael became Meshach, and Azariah became Abednego."
As a quick background story, the king had just defeated a country. In those days when a king defeats a country, he goes in, takes all their prized possessions, gold, animals, land, wives and men to work as slaves. So this excerpt shared was the king giving instruction to one of his men to go recruit. I started to get valuable insight from the first line. See my thoughts below:
This is so important because one would think that since it was servants they were looking to hire, someone who wasn't so high up there could oversee it. Being the highest official meant that his presence was as good as the king being there himself. The king knew that his decision was going to be just as he would have taken it. He sent this guy to be in charge of hiring because the men were not going to be your everyday servants. So what this means tells me is that the relevance and weight the role carries determines who does the recruitment.
What does this mean for you?
Who are you entrusting your recruitment decision to? Who you entrust it to, tells me the how you see your home. Are you entrusting it to someone who you aren't sure has your best interest at heart? Have you spoken to that agent/agency and asked some relevant questions to assess if they qualify to be recruiting someone for you? I have seen people become so frustrated and disappointed in the quality of candidates sent to them for interview even after explaining to the agent who they want. This is the sole reason: the agent isn't qualified to recruit for you. No matter how much you explain, they just don't get it. hey are saying "this madam's own is too much" "it's only heaven the person you are describing can fall from." This brings me to my next point.
2 He wanted people who had some experience and background working in the environment he was recruiting them into.
The king was specific. He wanted royal blood. He didn't want people who didn't understand the basics of royalty; people who will feel uncomfortable around wealth. Imagine hiring just anybody and they would see all the gold and precious stones in the palace and feel so small or start criticize them for spending so much or laugh at them for eating or talking a certain way?
What does this mean for you?
Are you part of those well-exposed home owners and potential domestic staff employers who say they that don't want an educated person, or someone who has been in the city for a number of years because they will be too exposed for them? The interpretation of this is tat you do not want someone who will speak up for herself, knows her rights. So you go ahead to hire someone from the village, who is not exposed at all and can be easily subservient. But you are angry that she cannot use her initiative, is spoiling your home equipment and technology because she doesn't know how to operate them. This person will harass your kids in your absence because she feels they are so privileged and wasteful. You have tried to correct, but nothing has worked. It is a mindset issue. They have no exposure in them. You are stressed out complaining and spending fortunes repairing stuff, when you can go hire someone with that money who is familiar with your lifestyle and can serve you well.
3. The king had a clear description of who His ideal staff was and because he knew, he was able to communicate it clearly.
One of my favorite things to ask new clients who are looking to recruit is to tell me who their ideal staff is. 99% of the time, I receive generic answers like I want a young person, hardworking, has worked with kids before etc. I now have to drill down to get a specific description. When you say young person, what age range are you looking at? When you say hardworking, in what specific area; core housekeeping or childcare? What is the entire scope of work required to be covered? When you say has worked with kids before, what age range are you looking at. The skills required to take care of a newborn is different from what is required for toddlers
What this means for you.
If you cannot articulate in clear terms who your ideal staff if, she will come right under your nose and you won't be able to identify her, because you won't even know what or who you are looking for. Also, you will keep on recruiting who you do not need, and will only discover you do not need her after you have hired her; meaning you would keep on wasting time and money on trial and error. It may take some you some time and effort doing the introspection needed to get your answers, but when you get it, it makes recruitment a lot more easier and faster.
4. They taught them how to read and write their language, changed their names and changed their palates.
After recruiting, the king totally changed their identities. These three things are what human beings usually identify themselves by; names, languages and their taste buds. When we go to new places, our ears pick up a familiar language in a crowd. When you hear a name that sounds familiar, we want to interact, or when in a new environment, you would normally search for a restaurant with food that your taste buds are familiar with. The king knew this and understood that if he could change these three things, he would have successfully converted their identities to Babylonians and made them feel normal in a strange land. If a joke was cracked in the palace, they would be able to understand and laugh too. The king didn't want them to feel out of place. They were to be fed exactly what the king ate and drank for three years. By these actions, the king was on-boarding them and cultivating LOYALTY to Babylon in them. They were treated as team members rather than servants.
What this means for you.
What steps are you taking to ensure that your domestic staff doesn't feel strange in her new environment? What preparations have you made before she resumes. When a domestic staff is coming is for the first time, something as little as a note of welcome, a formal introduction to every member of the house, a mini tour of the house and how to operate complex technology they might not have been familiar with will go a long way in cultivating loyalty. Teach her the lingua of your home. Your values, the languages that wouldn't be tolerated, give her a title if necessary.
5. They trained them for three years
Despite the fact that they were from royal lineage and would have probably only needed few weeks of training to get them up to standard in a new country, the king wanted them to be trained for three whole years. He knew that his kingdom was like no other kingdom. There was a protocol observed in Babylon tat no other kingdom could have. He didn't want to assume that they would fall in line. He deliberately set things in motion for them to be reprogrammed.
What this means for you.
A domestic staff may be experienced on the job, but she certainly is inexperienced in your home. You have to make plans for continuous training in values, systems, processes, boundaries e.t.c. Until she fully embodies who a member of your team should be.
In summary, I see a king who was bent on giving these men a total makeover such that nothing about where they came from is evident. He trained them to the extent that you would think they were born in the country.
These five points/lessons are bound to improve your domestic staffing experience if carried out. The question is "Will you be doing them?".
If you will, i'd love to hear your feedback and results. Share with me on firstname.lastname@example.org