Create an Employee Handbook for Your Private Staff

Whether you’re hiring for the estate or searching for someone to help you in your day to day, an employee manual or handbook gives your private staff a detailed overview of your rules, policies, guidelines, or procedures. Your goal should be to set the right expectations and, at the same time, state all your legal obligations to them. Note, that an employee manual is not the same thing as an employment contract.

Having an employee handbook helps to facilitate smoother onboarding, making it easy to welcome new staff members to the team. Furthermore, a set of guidelines also clearly outlines your expectations as an employer or staff manager, who may have several individuals under their purview.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to craft an employee manual for the team managing your personal and household affairs.

Values and Mission Statement

Your values and mission statement explains, in simple terms, your purpose for hiring your employees. And in the wake of a pandemic, making sure that you are 100% aligned with your existing and potential staff is critical. What are you trying to achieve, and how can your private staff help?

You need to effectively communicate these expectations with your staff to really get the right message across. Ensure that they know why you are hiring them and what your objectives are as an individual, an employer, and a homeowner.

A short paragraph defining your personal business and expectations would suffice as a brief character reference, offering some insight into who you are as an employer. Be as specific as you can and write it concisely, so your employees know what you are trying to convey to them.

Employee Compensations and Benefits

First and foremost, outline how your employees will be compensated, whether that’s a monthly wire or a weekly check. If you are offering other perks or incentives to your private staff, then this information should be clearly spelled out in your employee manual. You’ll want to include everything that covers employee benefits or rewards.

Clearly outline how much they are paid per hour and if they will be paid for overtime hours or when they work during holidays. Your private staff may also expect some benefits, so ensure that you outline this, in detail.

Benefits can include health insurance, parking spaces, sick leaves, 401k, dental benefits, meals, and beverages provided, lockers and personal storage areas, etc.

Code of Conduct

A code of conduct is a set of rules that tells your private staff how they should behave during work hours. You can include cellphone usage, dress code, smoking policy, etc.

For household rules, you can talk about who opens mails or accepts packages, how family members are addressed or contacted, rules of driving a family car, how guests are addressed and greeted, when to notify family members, or who to call for emergency issues.

For the code of conduct, your staff must understand it in its entirety. Be as detailed and as specific as possible.

Social Media and Digital Conduct

Digital conduct is a set of rules that pertains to an employee’s behavior online. You need to be specific with what is allowed and what is not when it comes to social media or other online-related activities.

Are your employees allowed to talk about their work on their social media channels? What about taking photos in your homes or with family members? Are they allowed to go online during work hours? Can your employees talk about your business?

You need to be very specific about this and ensure that your employees understand these home security guidelines.

Workplace Safety

In case of an emergency, who does your staff need to contact? Are there any allergies that you or your family members or guests have that your staff needs to be aware of? Are there any restricted areas in your home? These are just a few considerations that need to be met in your employee handbook.

While this all depends on what role your staff is filling, it’s still important to have it as a reference. Here, you’ll want to get in as much detail as possible, from dietary restrictions and medication regimens to safety procedures both in-person and online. Write about any guidelines or considerations you’ll need your staff to know.

You should also point out where the first aid kits are and the location of the fire extinguisher.

Duties, Work Hours, and Leave Policy

In your employee handbook, talk about the specific duties that your private staff is required to do. You may want to have a digital calendar shared with your staff members so that you’re always aligned.

How many hours are they required to work? What time should they take breaks, and how many minutes? Do they get paid on sick leaves? What about their vacation leaves – how many days are you giving them annually. If you’re not sure about the minimum wage or how many PTO do you need to offer to your private staff, you can always speak with a professional for assistance.

The goal is—your employees must understand, without question, their duties and responsibilities and what’s expected of them.

Termination

Outline the reasons why your employees may be terminated at work. You can write about a list of violations that may warrant a termination. Also, include a plan or checklist about what a certain employee would do if they are terminated. Do they need to return their uniforms or devices that were provided to them?

You need to also talk about their final wage when they are terminated. Will they be paid in full? What about deductions? Speak with a professional to ensure that you’re doing the right thing.

Conflicts of Interest

Depending on the nature of work, you may ask your private staff to sign a non-disclosure agreement and how to deal with them.

Writing the Handbook

When crafting your employee manual, make sure that you’re familiar with the applicable laws. For example, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, you are required to pay the minimum wage to all employees, including compensation for their overtime hours when they work for more than 40 hours a week. Your employees should be paid for every hour over 40. Also, you need to know whether your state’s employment laws require you to pay for breaks or meal times of your employees. Consult a professional when there are unusual work circumstances.

For your taxes, it would depend on the total amount of wages that you pay to a certain employee on an annual basis. You must check your state regulations to determine whether you need to withhold state income tax or settle for disability, unemployment or worker’s compensation insurance. Find out if you need to pay social security and Medicare taxes or pay federal unemployment tax. You can always use a payroll service to make this effortless for you.

Things to keep in mind:

Your employee manual should be readable, clear, simple, yet concise. It has to be accessible to everyone. If possible, hire someone who can discuss your employee manual, in detail, with the new hires.

Ask each employee to sign their handbook to ensure that they have fully read and understood them.

Contact Private Staff Group if You Need More Help

We are a recruitment agency committed to helping prominent individuals like yourself. Our team of experts specializes in sourcing strategy, hiring staff, staff onboarding, tax compliances, training staff, and even writing compelling job descriptions. Get in touch with us today!

Background Checks: Security Considerations When Hiring Private Staff

Welcoming people into your home or place of business can be a beautiful, yet risky thing. Under ideal circumstances, new staff members can bring order and elegance to your environment. Under bad circumstances, you can be a victim of deceit, theft, or worse.

When you’re interviewing and hiring private staff, you should cover all your bases. Running background checks and providing strict guidelines and handbooks upfront is essential. By bolstering your hiring process, you can ensure that candidates are the right choice.

Here’s what background checks and other security measures can do for you.

The Benefits of Background Checks

Background checks are used in all industries. They are especially important when hiring people who will gain access to more intimate or vulnerable things.

If you are hiring staff to operate in your estate, you should be concerned about how much access these new employees will have. They could get close to you, your family, and your personal information and belongings.

If you are hiring for your business, your information and assets are at stake.

There are many benefits to background checks. You can learn more about the candidate and checking their history with driving, crime, and finances. Running a background check means getting to know the candidate fully so that you can make an informed decision.

Vetting Experience

One of the great ways you can get to know a candidate better is by vetting experience through a background check. You can also ask for referrals so you can get other first-hand opinions. If a candidate has listed extensive years spent working as staff for other places, you can make sure they’ve listed accurate information.

In the rare case that a candidate has lied on their resume, this is your chance to find out. If they have lied, it’s a red flag and you should discuss the discrepancy with them or move on.

Background experiences don’t just vet work experience, but also check for aliases, age, and other personal information that could either save you from trouble or raise a red flag.

Financial Background

When you’re hiring private staff for your personal use or business use, it can be helpful to check their financial background. This isn’t to say that you should discriminate based on social class or financial situations, certain issues can be a red flag.

Generally, a financial background check is a credit history check. You’ll be able to see if they’ve had bankruptcies, liens, or are in collections. Financial background checks also sometimes bring up information about civil suits or judgments.

If a certain candidate is in a lot of financial trouble and you are hiring for a business that holds a lot of high-value assets, for example, you might want to proceed with caution. It’s not great to assume the worst in people, but desperate financial situations can drive people to commit crimes they wouldn’t otherwise commit.

A financial background check that comes up with red flags paired with a lengthy criminal history is definitely a concern.

Criminal History

When you run a background check, probably the most important information that will appear is criminal history. People who have committed crimes and served out their punishments deserve chances, too, but in certain situations, this is not a good idea. For example, if you were hiring for a babysitter, you most certainly would not hire someone on the sex offender list.

Running a criminal history check can help determine if a candidate has a history of theft, property damage, and even violent crime. People who have a history of these crimes are probably not the best candidates for having close access to your family, yourself, and your assets.

Setting Expectations

When you are hiring a private staff, you’ll also want to set expectations. Staff needs to be informed of guidelines for behavior, expectations for job tasks, and the guidelines for warnings, punishments, and firings. Being upfront about these rules and processes will ensure that staff understands their job and the risks of misbehaving or underperforming.

You should write up an employee handbook that is accessible and clearly outlines every guideline and explanation. This handbook should include:

  • The values your staff should align with
  • The mission statement your staff should compare their performance against
  • Your staff’s salaries and benefits you’ve agreed to
  • A code of conduct for work hours
  • A code of conduct for online presence, like social media
  • Explicit safety guidelines
  • Policies for work hours and time off
  • NDA or conflict-of-interest guidelines, if necessary
  • Termination policies

Your employee handbook should be as explicit as possible while still being easy to read and understand. You want to make sure that your staff can retain all the information and refer to it easily, but you also don’t want to leave any loopholes or details unaddressed.

Revise Expectations As Needed

When certain events occur, don’t hesitate to discuss your expectations with your staff. If a staff member has done something that wasn’t necessarily in the handbook, but you don’t approve of it, there’s no reason you can’t address it. You shouldn’t necessarily punish that staff member, but immediately call a meeting to talk about the issue and set rules going forward.

In the case of circumstances we can’t control, it’s also okay to set temporary or permanent expectations going forward. In the instance of the pandemic, many working environments were drastically affected. While many corporate jobs became remote, many jobs remained in-person out of necessity.

A private staff will most likely need to continue working in person regardless of the situation. During the pandemic, new policies had to be set temporarily, such as masks and social distancing. In that case, adding a new section to your handbook is justified and necessary.

You can also choose to add cautionary policies to your hiring process, such as only accepting vaccinated candidates. If you are just now hiring private staff, make sure to be clear about your safety expectations when you advertise the job openings.

To get a thorough understanding of what should be included in your background check, download our free ebook on the subject.

Hire the Perfect Private Staff

Knowing your needs and expectations is an important part of building a team for your private staff. Clearly communicating expectations, such as in handbooks, is a great way to make sure both you and your staff are getting what they expect out of the job.

Private Staff Group knows that background checks are an essential part of the interviewing process. That’s why we regularly run background checks as a standard protocol when we vet staff member candidates.

For the most sophisticated and trustworthy hiring process, contact us today!

Practical Safety Considerations When Hiring Private Staff

America loves its private staffers. Nearly 3.4 million Americans work as secretaries and administrative assistants. These statistics may make you believe that the onboarding process for private staff is easy. In reality, you must make substantial safety considerations at every step of the hiring process.

What should your background checks and onboarding documents look like? What quarters should you provide for your staffers? How can you help train your staffers on the job? Answer these questions and you can create the perfect onboarding process for your private and personal staff.

Here is your quick guide.

Background Checks

Background checks are an essential part of the onboarding process. Before you hire any private staff, you must conduct a background check on each applicant.

Your check should be fairly extensive. You should ask for referrals so you get a good sense of their experience. Check the information on their resume with the referrals so you know the applicant gave accurate information.

You must check their criminal history. Do not hire someone with a history of violent crime or property damage. You can hire someone convicted of a misdemeanor years ago, but you should have a conversation with them about it.

If you’re hiring a staffer for your business, you should examine their financial background. Look at their credit history and see if they have any bankruptcies. It is okay to hire a staffer with a low credit score, but you should try to understand why their score is low.

Documents

Once you’re comfortable moving ahead with an applicant, you should ask them to sign several legal documents. Contact a lawyer and draft your documents with them so they carry full legal weight. You should allow your staffer to talk to a lawyer so they know what their rights are as well.

All personal staffers should sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Staffers should not be allowed to discuss the nature of their job or details of their client’s personal life with other people.

You should also write a contract that outlines your staffer’s schedule and responsibilities. Be very clear with how they will be compensated and whether they qualify for overtime and other perks. A handbook could be helpful, as well. You and your lawyer should have all employment paperwork like pay stubs ready before work starts.

After you get their legal documents, you should hand them more information about their responsibilities. Give them written instructions about chores like how you like your laundry done or how you want them to organize documents.

Quarters for Your Private Staff

If your staff is expected to live on the premises for any duration of time, you should make a noticeable effort to make their quarters as comfortable and safe as possible. Your staffers will leave you if they have difficulty sleeping or don’t have enough room to store their belongings.

Before your staffer moves in, you should clean the room you are setting aside for them. Add new furniture to the room, including a desk and shelves where your staffer can put their belongings. Make sure the room has electricity, internet, and phone access.

You should give your staffer their own bathroom adjacent to their bedroom. You can give them a kitchenette, or you can allow them to use your kitchen to prepare their meals.

The quarters you provide should conform to fire safety regulations. Each room should have a smoke detector, and your staffer should be able to get out of the house within a few seconds of a fire breaking out.

Face Time

During your staffer’s first few weeks, you should spend plenty of time with them face-to-face. You can give them privacy at night, but you should vet how they are doing and determine if they are a good fit for you.

If you’re busy during the day, you can have a conversation with them in the morning and then talk to them at night. You can answer questions they have before they start their work. You can then debrief with them and resolve any concerns you have.

If you have a house manager, you should refer your staffer to them. As the onboarding process concludes, your staffer should start going to your house manager with any questions they have.

Safety Training

You should organize training for a new staffer so they know what to do in an emergency. If you or a family member has an urgent medical condition like a food allergy, you must tell your staffer. You should explain what they should do if you have an allergic reaction, and you should run a roleplay of an emergency situation.

You should organize evacuation and fire drills every few months. Everyone should be involved in these drills, including your family members. Schedule them randomly so you simulate an emergency and assess how everyone does. Make sure everyone knows where the fire extinguisher is stored.

Going forward, you should have regular meetings with everyone. At a minimum, you should update your staffers about security concerns like new medical conditions you have developed. You can also go over new policies you want to put in place and make performance evaluations.

Safety Considerations in Your Onboarding Process

Safety considerations are paramount whenever you hire a private staffer. You should conduct an extensive background check, especially on the criminal record of an applicant. If everything checks out, you should give them documents outlining their job.

Give your staffer a comfortable place to sleep so they can remain refreshed. Be with your staffer during their first weeks and answer all questions they have. As time goes on, conduct regular safety training sessions.

You can find the perfect staffers with the perfect recruiters. Private Staff Group serves families and business leaders across America. Get a free consultation today.

How Estate Managers Add Value Through Technology & Estate Management Systems

Estate management systems: Does your property need one?

Whether you’re in need of an estate manager or your existing manager is struggling to keep up with your property’s needs, you can add value to your property through the use of technology.

Technology has the ability to improve tasks ranging from inventory management to staff communication. Curious to learn more about how technology—specifically an estate management system—can streamline household and staffing operations? Read everything you need to know here.

Estate Management Systems

Estate manager systems allow estate managers the ability to input the full range of information needed to effectively manage a property in one place. The complexity of entire properties can be managed from the convenience of one device. 

While also used for property management professionals to track multiple properties, an estate management system has features including maintenance and events calendars, inventories trackers, and capabilities to assign tasks to staff. The system takes a proactive approach so that property operations never fall behind. To follow are a few examples of the estate management service applications currently available:

Luxury estate programs can be used by estate managers who are responsible for overseeing large properties. These programs will ensure that they can keep a close eye on every staff member and task from anywhere on the property.

The key to smooth operations is strong communication. Estate manager systems emphasize communication by assigning tasks to staff and setting deadlines. Your entire staff will have a clear idea of what is expected from them and when they need to complete their responsibilities. 

Some services go above and beyond, like Kelly Fore Dixon’s Estate Management Systems, which integrates every aspect of managing household assets, domestic staffing, and a principal’s exceedingly high expectations. The All-In Package, allows you to input every piece of information you need to ensure your employer’s estate runs like a well-oiled machine. Plus, get access to emergency preparedness plans, paper house manuals, and staff training guides.

No detail is too small to be captured and revisited on-demand or updated as needed. Its customizable checklists, templates, and attachments are arranged in modules that allow you to share some material with your team while keeping other, more sensitive content, completely confidential. 

Estate Managers – the Human Element

An estate manager ensures that the operations of an employer’s residence run smoothly. Usually, they will have years of experience working in private homes.

Estate managers act on behalf of the resident or property owner and make decisions regarding the property. If they are taking care of luxury homes, they will be trained in formal etiquette and know how to care for fine furnishings, art, and antiques.

An estate manager is expected to be both professional and personable. They will need to have strong financial and organization skills since they will be responsible for making the most important decisions regarding the property.

The professional must be able to organize work schedules, train staff, and manage everyone who works on the property to ensure that all standards are being met. Click here to learn more about the general role and responsibilities of an estate manager.

Estate Manager Add Even More Value Through Technology

In this era, everything is becoming digitized. It’s only natural that estate managers have an understanding of technology. Below are just a few of the ways that using technology will add value to the estate.

Online Shopping

Online shopping is becoming an increasingly popular method for buying household items. In 2020, categories, where expected growth in online shopping exceeded 35%, included essentials like groceries, household supplies, and personal care products.

An estate manager who is savvy with technology can work with staff to buy household items online. Performing personal shopping tasks for the estate can be accomplished most quickly online.

Budgeting

The ability not only for your estate manager to keep track of expenses but also for staff to play a part in the budget, is crucial for the smooth operation of an estate.

Estate managers can train employees in certain skills like editing spreadsheets online and monitoring expenses. They can then use this information to create budgets and future spending strategies.

Employees who are well-versed in basic technology programs can add record expenses to give the most accurate information to the estate manager and the property owner.

Inventory

Large estates will require a close eye on inventory. Manually tracking is both timely and error-prone. Using technology streamlines the process and can be very useful.

Estate managers can train staff members to use a digital spreadsheet to keep an eye on inventory. They can keep track of the quantities of specific items and identify when items need to be replaced. They can also use a spreadsheet to see if items are expired or no longer needed.

With all of the property’s inventory in one place, it will be much easier to stay ahead of potential shortages and keep the right amount of items on the property at the right time.

Smart Home Technology

Many luxury homes now implement the use of technology throughout their home. This includes heating and cooling systems, security systems, and entertainment options.

Estate managers who are well-versed in technology can use these systems to automate certain processes of property management. This will streamline operations as 57% of smart home technology users say that they save time with the technology.

For instance, say that the estate resides in a location that receives high amounts of sunlight during the day. This sunlight can strip the color from carpeting, furniture, and art. The estate manager can use technology to program window blinds to come down during the peak hours of sunlight, then rise up to let the late afternoon sun in at 4 pm every day.

Security concerns are often a concern for larger estates. Estate managers can use technology to keep a close watch on various access points throughout the estate. They can also program technology to set up alerts for suspicious activity.

Selecting The Professional Staff You Need

Estate managers who can integrate technology into their work are invaluable to your property. Finding the right estate manager who can leverage the technology of an estate management system can transform how your entire estate functions.

Private Staff Group is eager to help you find the best and right talent. We have specialized knowledge in urban, country, remote, luxury, and resort communities.

We are confident that we can find the right candidate for you. Contact us to learn more.

5 Things You Should Know About Personal Assistants

Call it overlap or a gray area, but the responsibility of an assistant—executive, family, personal, or otherwise​​—often spills into other roles to get the job done. From helping to hold down the fort, coordinating travel arrangements, and taking care of event planning, an assistant becomes an integral part of their client’s life.

1. There’s More than One Kind of Assistant

Depending on their needs, clients will seek out different types of assistants to help them in their day-to-day.

Personal Assistants

A personal assistant can take up many different roles but at the end of the day, they’re meant to be 100% focused on the needs of their clients. A personal assistant becomes their client’s proxy, often representing their interests in face-to-face interactions or phone calls.

That could entail performing administrative tasks and managing their client’s schedule or running errands and maintaining peace and order on the homefront.

Virtual Assistants

In recent years, becoming a virtual assistant has become more popular. Young professionals are enjoying the ability to create their own schedules, offering bespoke digital solutions for even a few clients at a time. Their major responsibility is to assist their clients by managing and optimizing their digital workspace.

Virtual assistants work remotely but continue to deliver the same level of support as a personal or executive assistant. By nature of their remote setting, they are particularly equipped to help clients who travel often.

Executive Assistants

An executive assistant is typically more senior than a personal or virtual assistant. Executive assistants typically work in corporate settings. In addition to being their employer’s proxy, they often act as a gatekeeper, a measure of security to ensure that work is being done efficiently and without needless interruption. Executive assistants should also be prepared for a degree of interdepartmental collaboration, navigating the delicate relationship between various stakeholders in a project while prioritizing the interests of their employer.

Family Assistants

While executive assistants have a handle on all things in business, family assistants step in to support the entire household.

As a result, the role is an exceptionally diverse one with a range of responsibilities including working with household contractors, helping with homework, driving and running errands, planning events, mailing out holiday cards, taking care of the pets, and so much more. In short, the family assistant is like an additional head of the household.

2. Staying Organized is as Important as Being Flexible

An effective and reliable assistant is one that’s willing to roll up their sleeves to assist their client any time and in any way possible. Most job descriptions do explain that an individual must be flexible with their hours of availability and scope of duties, however, those duties can range from responding to an email or scheduling an appointment to cleaning up after the family dog or helping in the kitchen.

With all these moving parts, staying organized is paramount so that clients can better focus on their responsibilities knowing that they have a trusted agent keeping things running on all other fronts.

Depending on a client’s level of comfort and the personal assistant’s skill set, it is not uncommon for some to be trusted with managing personal finances like budgeting, bill paying, and bookkeeping, which are just a few skills that require excellent organizational skills.

3. The Stakes are Always High

An assistant is someone whose trusted with their client’s private information. They’re welcomed into homes and workplaces and are expected to perform their duties efficiently, professionally, and with their client’s best interests at top of mind. From time-sensitive project proposals to routine carpools, every aspect of the assistant’s responsibilities is of equal importance.

When working with someone as closely as assistants do with their clients, there’s an understandable overlap between personal and professional lives. Both parties may find themselves in situations that will challenge their sense of boundaries. Sometimes, the most valuable skill an assistant can have is an understanding of prioritization.

Knowing when to step back, even when their employer might insist otherwise—or vice versa—can make the difference between a good employee and a great one.

4. In-Person and Online, There’s an Image to Uphold

An assistant represents their employer in every aspect of life. To their personal and professional contacts, the assistant may be the first person they interface with. Everything they do is a representation of the person they work for. As such, the mannerisms, polish, and professionalism of an assistant must be aligned with that of their employer.

For some clients, where their personal security is a top priority, their assistants must be trained and advised in manners and protocols that mitigate security risks. This might be something as small as disabling social media profiles or making them private. Either way, having an employee handbook that clearly outlines the personal, professional, and security obligations of the assistant is key to facilitating a successful working relationship.

5. An Assistant is a Lasting Investment

Family assistant or executive, while these roles may be unique, their goal is to always support their clients. An assistant helps save time by supporting their client in whatever way is needed. For this reason, their flexibility paired with their ability to stay organized, helps them develop into a critical member of a team or family.

When prioritization forces their client to move things to the back burner, the assistant steps in to support some of that workload. Even the smallest task can have a monumental impact in the grand scheme of things. Having someone to rely on increases output so that the to-do list stays manageable throughout the course of the project.

Find the Perfect Assistant with Private Staff Group

An assistant can make your life easier so find a top-notch candidate that is trustworthy and highly skilled.

The Private Staff Group can help you find the best and most qualified candidates. Our recruitment process has met precise estate employment requirements across the globe. For more information, contact us online or by phone at 1-866-282-7729. Our team is always ready to provide you with the professionalism and courtesy you deserve!

Estate Manager vs Director of Residences

The ultra-luxury estate market continues to climb steadily, according to Redfin. The world’s most expensive estates currently range from $200 million to over $6 billion.

The rise in luxury estates creates a higher demand for estate managers. The position for directors of residences is also evolving as complex estate management spans the globe.

What are estate managers and directors of residences, and what is the difference between the two functions? Read on for our guide to these important private staff positions.

What is an Estate Manager?

An estate manager oversees a property for the owner(s). Similar terms include butler or majordomo, who also manage households.

Estate managers typically work on large and complex estates managing both the household and grounds. They require a wide range of skill sets. Soft skills include attention to detail, strategic thinking, and problem-solving.

They may also require certain hard skills, depending on the estate type and functions to manage. Hard skills can include:

  • Relevant degrees (property management, business administration, etc.)
  • Finance
  • Logistics
  • Agriculture
  • Building Maintenance
  • Hospitality
  • Computer/technical
  • Multi-language fluency
  • Accounting
  • Landscaping
  • Security

Estate managers generally occupy the highest staff position of a property. They may directly supervise all estate employees or designate supervisors for specific areas, such as a groundskeeper.

What Does an Estate Manager Do?

Estates can require lots of work, from human resources to land management. Estate managers must also safeguard their client’s privacy and safety while fulfilling their job roles.

The estate manager has the vital responsibility to ensure daily estate operations run smoothly. They plan long-term strategies such as budgets, maintenance, and contracts.

As they occupy the highest staff leadership position, estate managers typically remain on call 24/7 for any issues that arise unexpectedly.

What Human Resource Responsibilities Does an Estate Manager Have?

An estate manager oversees property staff, vendors, and contractors. Human resource management duties can include:

  • Hiring and onboarding
  • Background checks
  • Suspensions or terminations
  • Training and skill-building
  • Work schedules
  • Salaries and payrolls
  • Promotions and retention
  • Regular performance reviews
  • Vetting hired company services
  • Negotiating contractors

Estate managers rely on strong people skills and knowledge of many different jobs. They are responsible for the quality of goods and services provided to the estate.

How Can Estate Managers Help with Land and Building Management?

The estate manager job role includes the property grounds and buildings. The estate can have many functions or features. These duties can include overseeing:

  • Pool and spa maintenance
  • Landscaping, garden, and lawn upkeep
  • Building repairs, renovations, and regular maintenance
  • Domestic animal care
  • Animal husbandry
  • Guest services
  • Private recreation services (golf courses, airfields, etc.)
  • Vehicle upkeep
  • Luxury item management (art, antiques, jewelry)

These duties will depend on the type of estate. An estate that includes horses, for example, will require care, feeding, veterinary, and breeding services.

What is a Director of Residences? How Do They Compare to an Estate Manager?

Estate managers can oversee multiple properties. But for estates that span long distances or with very complex functions, it may not be practical to rely on an estate manager alone.

A director of residences (not to be confused with a resident director) oversees all estates or estate functions. They also oversee the individual estate managers for each property or estate.

A director of residences should have all the soft and hard skills required of an estate manager, applied to a larger scale. This also includes relevant degrees and certifications.

For example, an estate manager manages the multiple household and property budgets needed for an estate. A director of residences manages the entire operating budget for all estates.

What are the Responsibilities of a Director of Residences?

Like skills, the director of residences has similar duties to an estate manager but more expansive. An estate manager can hire private security staff for a property. A director of residences will contract a security firm to provide security services across all estates.

Other duties may include:

Directors of residences can be required to represent their clients. This can include any capacity from the brand ambassador, meeting stand-in, or negotiator on their client’s behalf.

How Can a Director of Residences Help with Human Resource Management?

The director of residences maintains employer policies and procedures across all estates. They may even develop the estate management infrastructure.

The director of residences will work with staff in many instances. This can include inspections and crisis response. However, they will coordinate daily operations between estate managers.

They may also work directly with their employer. Examples include planning annual budgets or guest events. They also can be required to directly attend regular meetings or submit reports.

How Can a Director of Residences Support Land and Building Management?

The director of residences may be required to purchase new land, expand existing properties, or coordinate major construction projects. They may also work with estate managers for major renovations and property improvements.

Their land and building duties also depend on the type of estate. An estate that includes goods or services will require more business and hospitality skills, while a private estate retreat will focus more on security and amenities.

Like estate managers, directors of residences must have a wide field of knowledge. International ranch estates must know each country’s animal care laws, for example. Or how to use veterinary services in local languages.

How to Find the Ideal Staff for Your Estate Needs?

An estate manager and director of residences keep your estate running. You want to hire top-notch and trustworthy people for these highly skilled positions.

The Private Staff Group can help you find the best and most qualified candidates. Our recruitment process has met precise estate employment requirements across the globe. For more information, contact us online or by phone at 1-866-282-7729. Our team is always ready to provide you with the professionalism and courtesy you deserve!

A letter from Private Staff Group Founder

Dear Clients and Candidates,

For ten years, Private Staff Group has and continues to deliver world-class staffing solutions to the most elite and discerning clientele.

What sets us apart from other talent agencies or recruiting firms? Our proven success, driven by a highly refined staffing methodology that employs the best networks, databases, and technology.

When you work with Private Staff Group, you receive tailored presentations of the best candidates in North America and abroad. Our bespoke placements include Estate, Property, and House Managers, Executive and Personal Assistants, and Private Chefs. Finding the perfect fit is guaranteed. Most importantly, thanks to a hallmark, client-oriented approach, Private Staff Group has a long list of satisfied clients.

From personal security considerations to an in-depth understanding of a client’s needs, Private Staff Group provides the best options to serve a client’s family, lifestyle, and business.

We sincerely look forward to the opportunity to serve you with custom solutions to your staffing needs.

With highest regards,

Stephen Candland
Founder, Private Staff Group

How to Hire Staff for Your Remote Property

The hiring process is one that takes time and is something that the hiring manager wants to make sure they are doing their due diligence with. As someone that is hiring people you never want to rush into a decision of whom you want to hire. Doing so could be catastrophic and can bring on more trouble.

When you are doing some hiring it is essential to ensure you are putting forth the best efforts. You have to make sure that the team you put in place is one that will do their best and work at their highest capacity, whether you’re around the corner or on the other side of the world.

When you own several homes, it comes as no surprise that you can’t physically be in both places at once. That said, you don’t want to be in a position where the home you are away from is being neglected. And wherever you’re coming from, when you walk through your front door, you don’t want to be welcomed by dust.

Having private staff on retainer for your remote home—or at least an estate manager who can contract services to meet your home’s needs—is essential to maintaining property value, ensuring year-round security, and giving you one less thing to worry about.

Being able to leave with the peace of mind that your family’s safe space is taken care of is 100% dependent on the quality of your staff. The team you have in place needs to be reliable, dependable, and trustworthy. They need to be professionals you can count on to ensure everything is just how you like it to be, especially when you’re away.

To accomplish this, we’ve got a few hiring tips for how to recruit and manage staff, from finding the right fit to some insight into the process, here’s what you need to know:

Finding the Right Candidates for Your Remote Home

Have a clear idea of what you need.

When you are looking for your remote home to be taken care of, identify what will need ongoing maintenance versus sporadic check-ins.

Doing this will show you specifics on things you may not have thought to have in your job posting, which may include experience with the tools and platforms, as well as sensitivity toward your security and confidentiality expectations.

With this accomplished, you’ll be able to narrow your list or better vette the candidates who do apply.

Look in the right places for talent.

There are many websites that are dedicated to helping employers find the right candidates and also help those seeking employment see areas that are all hiring for specific positions they are seeking.

Looking in the best place will help narrow down potential employees in specific areas, including:

  • level of experience
  • primary languages
  • profile keywords

Leveraging these resources also helps you understand what roles are out there, and which one might be best suited for your hiring needs.

Do some research.

Check for business accolades as well as credentials—and don’t forget to run a background check. Doing a keyword search will help to find those with some of the same wording you will be looking for or that you will use in the hiring process. That will help speed along the search for those that are truly interested.

Most importantly, it’s important to know what to look for in a background check.

Have a plan.

Put in place a strategy for holding remote interviews. You want to have a list of questions that are well-rounded that will allow you to see the personality of the interviewee, their background, and the skills they have.

You also want to keep this in mind; when you are hiring staff for your remote property, you want to get the best look and feel for who they are so having questions in place that will let you see all of these things is essential in getting the staff you desire.

Managing Your Remote Staff

Once you’ve chosen the best candidates and have hired a reliable staff, you’ll want to set up a way to communicate expectations, requests, and updates.

Maintaining your remote home is a task that can be done with ease when you have processes in place. Here are some tips to ensure you’re in the best position to manage staff on your remote properties:

Outline your expectations.

Set the expectations you have for your staff immediately and clearly.

One big way to manage the staff at your remote home is making sure the staff members know exactly what you expect from them. You want to let them know how often they should check in with you, if you desire for them to check-in prior to the end of their workday every day or on a weekly basis, and how they should track their time.

Communicating what you want from your staff upfront will allow them to be in the know but also bring synchronization between all of you.

Put it in writing.

Put your communication strategy in writing. Having what you expect from your staff as a whole and also individually is important in the communication process. This is vital in your communication process and your staff will have something to look to as a reference.

Putting together a handbook is also a good place to give details about responsiveness, timing, and other essentials you want to stand out.

Encourage communication.

Keep in contact as much as possible. Have consistent times where you are communicating with your staff but make sure you have a way to always get in touch.

You can engage through phone calls, email, instant messaging, and especially video chat. Your staff is an investment in your lifestyle and encouraging good performance and collaborative communication will not only build rapport but loyalty, and will minimize turnover rate.

Be transparent with your staff.

You will be viewed as their leader and with that power comes significant responsibility. Set an example through diligence, compassion, and consistency.

You will, of course, want your staff to be professional while working in your remote home so you should always be open and honest with them. This will build a great team culture and will give you the confidence of knowing your staff will work well while you are away.

Consult with Private Staff Group

You want to make sure you are doing all you can to ensure you have a great staff that will work well with you and for you. We here at Private Staff Group have all the tools in place to help you get the best private staff you need to ensure your remote home is well taken care of.

You don’t want to have your home in a state that you aren’t pleased with and we don’t want that for you. Allow us to help you get the right staff in place, so you can rest assured that your home away from home is always the way you want it to be!

Is Your Pool or Spa Getting Enough Care?

Summer is right around the corner, which means it’s time to get your pool and spa in tip-top shape.

How do you get your pool and spa ready for summer swim parties and backyard barbeques? We’re going to break down the regular maintenance your pool and spa need all year long.

We’ll also give you tips for getting your pool ready for the summer and whether or not a professional pool service is right for you. Let’s dive into our top pool and spa tips.

How to Take Care of Your Pool

Your pool needs regular maintenance in the following areas:

  • Pool water and chemical balance
  • Pool interior
  • Pool filter system
  • Skimmers and returns

First, it’s important to keep your pool water clear, clean, and chemically balanced. You should run your pool pump for eight to twelve hours a day. Circulating the water will keep it free from contaminants and bacteria growth. It will also keep all the chemicals properly mixed.

Speaking of chemicals, let’s talk about how to maintain your pool’s water chemistry.

Water Chemistry Maintenance

You should clean your pool and add a shock treatment once a week. As the summer gets closer, start testing your water once a week. You can get a simple pH test that will tell you how acidic levels of your pool water.

Ideally, the pH should be between 7.2 and 7.6 for the water to stay clear and not irritate your eyes. If the level is too high or low, use a pH decreaser or increase to adjust it.

Next, check your pool’s sanitation levels. How you do this will depend on whether you have a chlorine or saltwater pool. If you have chlorine, which is more popular, the levels should be between one and four parts per million.

If the chlorine is too low, you can add more. If it’s on the high side, the sun will burn it off. Shocking your pool will also help get rid of the chlorine smell.

Add pool shock weekly before the summertime hits. When you start using your pool more, shock it before and after big pool parties. You can also shock it after rain or a storm to make the water clear again.

Finally, you should add an algaecide to your pool water weekly. This will slow down the growth of pool and bacteria, which is important for keeping your pool interior in good shape. Let’s look at the other things you need to do to maintain your pool’s interior.

Pool Interior Maintenance

To maintain your pool’s interior, it needs to be regularly cleaned. If you let your cleaning routine slide during the off-season, now is the time to give it a deep clean so it’s ready for summer.

Clear away any algae, mold, or debris. Start by cleaning out debris with a neck, then vacuum the entire surface of the pool. Pay special attention to areas that don’t have great circulation since they are more at risk for algae build-up.

Before summertime, you should also repair any damaged pool tiles that could cut someone’s skin.

Pool Filter System Maintenance

Maintaining your pool’s filter system is a crucial part of keeping your pool clean and healthy. Without it, your pool water will quickly fill up with pollution that isn’t safe to swim in.

There are several different types of pool filters, so follow the manufacturer’s instructions to maintain yours. However, all pool filters need to be regularly back washed to get rid of the collected debris.

After you backwash the filter, run it for a few minutes, and then rinse it before you resume regular filtering. You should frequently check the filter’s PSI reading to know when it needs to be cleaned again. Check it more often in the summer when you’re using the pool more.

Skimmers and Return Maintenance

Skimmers are responsible for pulling water into the filter, while returns send the clean water back into the pool. They need to be kept clear to work properly. If they’re clogged, the whole pool’s filter system won’t function.

During your weekly pool maintenance, check the skimmers and returns for any obstructions. Clear out all debris and clean off any algae that could stop them from working.

 

How to Take Care of Your Spa

Maintaining your spa is similar to your pool upkeep. It needs to be cleaned weekly, so you can do it on the same day you clean your pool. You could also use our service to find the best caretaker or property manager to get on top of your aquatic obligations.

A big part of keeping your spa clean is circulating the water. Hopefully, your spa has an automatic system that circulates the water twice a day. If not, you need to manually turn it on for 15 minutes twice a day.

To clean your spa, you can use a sponge and white vinegar to wipe down the jets, shell, and water line. Before your first big summer party, you should also drain your hot tub to completely refresh the water.

Spa Filter and Water Maintenance

To keep your filters working properly for a long time, clean them with a filter cleaner every week. Afterward, rinse them off with warm water from a hose. Rinse them often during the summer.

Keeping your spa’s water balanced is the same process as your pool. The water needs to be pH tested, sanitized, shocked, and adjusted as needed before summer hits. You should test it once a week to see what it needs.

Should You Hire Trained Pool Cleaners?

As you can see, maintaining your pool and spa isn’t difficult, but it is time-consuming. Plus, it’s important to be exact to keep the water safe and your backyard oasis looking beautiful. If you want to make sure the job is done right, ensure your staff is trained to keep your pool/spa running smoothly.

Pool cleaners or a service can come every week to confirm, but with trained personnel, you can trust the job will be done right, regularly, and with your privacy a priority.

At Private Staff Group, we can help you find the best staff to service your pool and spa. Click here to request a consultation and get started today.

Hiring Private or Household Staff in the Wake of a Pandemic

When news of COVID-19 spread and countries around the world entered lockdown it almost felt like everything stopped. People stopped going to the office, kids stopped going to school, and people put a halt to most of their plans around travel or being social.

The outside world may be at a standstill, but the inside world of your homes is busier and more vibrant than ever. Having household staff you can rely on is important at any time, but it’s especially important when we’re in a pandemic.

Remember, vaccine availability and lessening restrictions don’t mean that you’re safe from COVID. That’s why we’re here to give you the insight you need to find the right staff.

Are you thinking about hiring professional staff? Keep reading if you’re ready to learn how to bring on the right staff to manage your homes during these trying times.

Understand Who You Need

Before you start looking for new staff to bring on (or thinking about who to let go), consider what services are essential for your properties going forward.

You know that your chief of staff is indispensable, but could you do without your estate manager? You don’t think you need your butler at certain properties. However, you’re on the fence about how much you’ll be using your driver.

It’s possible that you may not need to have as many cooks on staff because you won’t be hosting large events, but you may still want to keep your head chef for more intimate affairs. Some people may have never considered having a private chef on the grounds, but now that catering could be dangerous, you may feel safer with having someone you can trust prepare your food.

Take time to look at what’s coming up on your personal calendar, and be sure to pay close attention to quarantine restrictions in your area. Having insight into both matters can make it easier to determine what you need.

Estate Manager Property Manager Real Estate

Understand Your Comfort Levels

Do you only want to bring in staff that has received the COVID-19 vaccine? Would you be comfortable bringing in someone that has had COVID-19 in the past, but has since recovered? Do you want your staff to change into their uniforms on the premises or bathe then change to ensure they aren’t bringing in germs?

You’re the boss when it comes to your private staff, and now isn’t the time to be lax about setting boundaries. Take time to really think about what you and your family will need to stay safe and work with your staff effectively.

Some people feel safer making temperature checks mandatory before people can report to work. Others may consider setting up hand sanitizing and mask disinfecting stations in each room staff to ensure maximum safety.

Alter Your Interviewing Process

Hiring someone to attend to your personal properties and help you and your family isn’t a simple process. Extensive background checks need to be performed, multiple interviews need to be held, and you need to find a way to test their skills.

Unfortunately, COVID has made it difficult to perform some of your usual hiring activities. Luckily for you, there are plenty of ways to still properly screen people to add to your domestic staff.

Moving to a hybrid interview format can help save you time and help keep everyone safe. Consider holding some preliminary interviews over video calls instead of doing them by phone. When you add the camera element you can learn a lot about potential hires from their body language instead of having to go only by tone.

It’s only natural to want to have one in-person interview so you can test their skills and see how well they’d interact with you and the rest of the staff. We recommend trying to keep people as far apart as possible. Choose a very large room so people can meet comfortably, or consider setting up different areas to keep people separate.

You may find that there are some skill tests that you don’t need to be present for. It’s possible to closely inspect a potential laundress’s washing work and ironing skills once they’ve finished, and you can easily eat food prepared by a chef without being there to watch them prepare it. Consider having someone else supervise the tests and coming in after to inspect everything.

Consider Creating a Staff Bubble

You’ve heard a lot about the importance of social distancing and only being close to people that don’t have a lot of interactions in the outside world. That can be easy enough for the family, but things get tricky when it comes to private staff.

What happens if a staff member goes out over the weekend and brings COVID with them to work on Monday? Would you be comfortable having staff in your homes that are in group living situations or have to use public transit to get to work?

For the time being, you may want to consider only hiring people that are comfortable staying on the grounds while they work. You could come up with a schedule so that employees have plenty of time to quarantine before they come into work if you’re concerned about spreading the virus.

Home Doctor Home Chef Home Cleaning Services

Find Household Staff the Safe Way

Instead of leaving the safety of your family and in the hands of others, consider working with a professional staffing service that can get you the help you need.

Working with a private staffing company is more important than ever now. We won’t just help you find professionals that can meet your rigorous standards for security and safety. We’ll help you find people that take COVID-19 as seriously as you do and keep your family’s well being top of mind.

Are you ready to find the help you need? Contact us today so we can start finding the best way to meet all of your private staffing needs.

Butler, Estate Manager, Majordomo: The Right Staff for Your Household

Butlers — they’re a pop-culture staple. They feature in many famous books, movies, and TV shows, usually as a staple of an upper-class, or old-school household.

But in modern-day society, what is a butler?

Butler’s certainly aren’t as popular used to be. As short as a hundred years ago, it was common for the upper-middle and upper-class to have staff on hand that would complete various tasks for them.

Now a large portion of the workforce has been deputized to the outside of the home: the new “servant” class consists of people like waiters, baristas, and clerks, and caterers. But many of the more well-to-do have gravitated back towards hiring butlers—and other types of household staff—again.

If you’re someone who’s considered hiring a butler, estate manager, or majordomo, you’ve come to the right place. This article will walk you through all you need to know.

What Is a Butler?

A butler is a household servant—usually a male—who’s responsible for the upkeep and presentation of certain rooms in a house, or the entire house. A butler acts as the leader of the house staff but also performs many services himself.

The butler doesn’t just see to these observations but provides a pleasant experience for those who come to the house. There is an element of theatricality to the butler’s job. The butler is generally responsible for presenting a formal appearance, knowing the etiquette, protocol, and manners, and providing knowledge on various foods and wines.

Sometimes, in this day and age, a butler will work as a chauffeur. They receive and take care of guests, and organize any function where guests are involved. They also take care of more day-to-day tasks, such as the writing of manuals, the maintenance of fine silverware, furniture, and vehicles, and hiring outside contractors.

Butler’s don’t just provide these practical benefits, however. A good butler is trained in discretion and can operate as a confidante. They also generally know a great deal about telephone etiquette and will help you cut a more formal, graceful figure to anyone who calls.

Butlers are trained by various organizations to adapt to the needs of the individuals they are serving. The longer you have your butler with you, the more you’ll notice your life improving. They’ll do their job better and better as they learn the preferences and tastes of the different members of the household.

What Are the Differences Between a Butler, Estate Manager, and Majordomo?

Butlers are perhaps the most recognizable members of household staff, but they certainly aren’t the only option for helping to manage the household. Let’s take a look at two of the other types of staff you might consider hiring: a Majordomo and an Estate Manager.

Majordomo

First of all, it’s important to note that majordomo is a somewhat nebulous term. Sometimes the term “majordomo” is used interchangeably with butler, and sometimes it isn’t.

When it isn’t, it’s usually referring to a position that’s higher up than a butler. In very large houses where there are multiple butlers, each one will likely be in charge of a different area of the house. The majordomo acts as the “head butler”, responsible for overseeing the whole house.

A house servant is more likely to be called a majordomo if several people are working for that house. A lone butler in a house will almost definitely be referred to as a “butler” but a butler who’s leading a staff of house servants might be called a “majordomo”.

Estate Manager

The specialty of butler and majordomo is knowledge of a wealthy person’s house. They’re responsible for the upkeep of the house, the receiving of guests, and organizing house-related affairs. However, some people own more than one house on their estate—or across the world—in which case, having someone keep things in order while the owners are away is critical for their peace of mind as well as maintaining the value of the property.

The person who oversees the whole estate is the “estate manager”. In a system with multiple houses, more complex policies are required—an estate manager handles these policies and enforces them.

They manage many purchases for an employee, to greatly speed up the process of acquiring additions to the house. Because of this, they have to have a working knowledge of business and a strong grasp of finance.

Many estate managers also assist employers in aspects of their businesses.

Is Household Staff Right For Me?

Your home is more than just your place of residence. It’s a statement, a symbol of your accomplishments and a facilitation for your lifestyle. Upholding order and value in one household, let alone multiple, remote properties, is a challenge that requires the right team to address. Delegating that work to the experts leaves you with more time for your important job, and more time for you to enjoy your leisure.

Our team focuses on the individual needs of each home and determines the perfect candidates for you. We offer you several options, so you can pick the staff that you think you’ll bond with the best. Our founder works with each client to make sure that the client’s satisfaction is ensured.

In addition to butlers, majordomos, and estate managers, we offer many other types of staff for you to choose from. Consider hiring a caretaker for services on your landscaping and pools, a laundress for specific laundry services, or a personal assistant, for day-to-day needs.

Hire House Staff

Many people these days find themselves asking—what is a butler? Butlers aren’t quite as popular as they used to be. However, they’re still a wonderful option for anyone looking to bring a level of dignity, formality, and respect to their house.

Once you consider what a butler is, the difference between a butler, majordomo, and estate manager, and find yourself a good service, you’re well on your way to hiring the housing staff of your dreams.

For more information, contact us today.

How to Hire a Personal Assistant During COVID-19

Wealthy seniors and baby boomers are choosing a new type of Personal Assistant/Companion. This is in part due to Covid but also to enhance their active lifestyles. Today’s companions and personal assistants are selected by how well they fit a tailored job description.

In the past, private staffing companions may have been more involved in assisting those with health and mobility issues. Today’s companions and personal assistants are selected based on unique client needs. These needs may include:

  • Working and live-in in luxury remote communities such as: Nantucket, Aspen, Sun Valley, Caribbean islands, etc.
  • Special skills with dogs, grandchildren, cooking, sports and house management
  • Calendar, organization and business assistance
  • Training and certification: First aid, CPR, RN, rehabilitation
  • Household tasks: laundry, couture, entertaining, shopping
  • Driving, walking, hobby activities
  • Social companion to restaurants, travel and resorts
  • Wardrobe organization and styling
  • Supervising other domestic staff and residences

Personality factors are also an important part of household staff fit. Such personality factors include energy, background, flexibility, education and talents. These are a few considerations for the hiring selection process.

Hiring a companion/personal assistant during covid requires especially disciplined measures for client protections. This can lead clients to rely upon only one or two key staff members. Companion/PA jobs often have generous salaries to ensure longer term retention.

Screening and background checks are of utmost importance, and Private Staff Group takes these very seriously. Here are some of the measures we are taking to ensure your safety during covid and beyond:

  • Comprehensive background checks, including education and driving
  • Zoom interviews
  • 90-Day Placement Guarantee
  • Privacy protection plan
  • Advisement on best safety practices and protocols

Review our private staff hiring protocols in detail here. For further information and a discussion of employing private staff safely, please call Stephen Candland at Private Staff Group 203-856-7811 or email: stephen@privatestaffgroup.com​.

Family Assistants vs. Nannies. Which One Do You Need?

With our worlds turned upside down by covid-19, your family’s needs are likely different than they were before. Many schools are online, requiring far more oversight of your children throughout the day. Although many parents are working from home, their busy schedules may not allow for the time necessary to ensure their child is excelling at school. In addition, with kids home a lot, you may be finding that your home is getting messy more quickly, and you are having to cook and grocery shop far more often. In addition, keeping your kids occupied is never easy, and is likely even more challenging now. If this sounds like you, your family would benefit most from a family assistant. 

How do nannies and family assistants differ?

Nannies are typically for younger children who require round the clock care. If your family needs are more than just childcare, a family assistant may be a better choice for you. The family assistant role is more versatile. Family assistants are like a hybrid between a nanny and a personal assistant. In other words, family assistants help the parents rather than just helping/prioritizing the kids. 

Other factors to consider are whether or not you want your family assistant to live in or not. Many families opt for the former, especially during Covid-19, but it is ultimately up to you. Whatever your private staffing needs, Private Staff Group can help. Private Staff Group employs best practices for safety including background checks and virtual interviews as well as health screenings. Read more about our Covid-19 safety guidelines here. Private Staff Group specializes in staffing New York, The Hamptons, Greenwich, Palm Beach, and San Francisco. Apply here for a complimentary private staffing consultation for your home, or email stephen@privatestaffgroup.com or call 1-866-282-7729.

Winterizing Your Hamptons Pool

As summer draws to a close, it is important to make sure that your beautiful pool in the Hamptons is getting the special care it needs. Continue reading for more information on what your staff should be doing to prepare your pool for the winter and ensure ease of opening next summer. 

With fall approaching, it is important to have a plan in place for your pool’s care. Making sure your pool is covered as leaves fall is of utmost importance. Leaves can inundate the system and clog pipes, leading to much bigger problems. In addition, large amounts of debris can lead to the growth of algae and also stain the pool’s plaster.  

Although it gets cold in The Hamptons in the winter, which helps prevent algae and bacteria from thriving, care must be taken to ensure that freezing weather does not damage your pool. In addition, snow should be brushed off your pool cover to prevent damage (SwimmingPool.com).

Failure to care for your pool during the off season can create a more time consuming and expensive pool-opening process in the spring. For example, if algae gets out of hand, your pool may need to be drained (The Pool Butler). However, this can cause significant damage and should be avoided if possible. Consider hiring someone to take care of your pool and lighten your load. 

Keeping a bespoke pool in top shape year round is no small task. Cleaning should be performed weekly, like skimming debris from the surface, brushing the walls, clearing the skimmer, testing the water, and adding chemicals (Hayward Pool). Pools require many different chemicals that should be purchased from a specialty store. In addition, a sample of your pool water should be taken to a pool shop at least monthly for a full testing panel. 

Whether you summer in the Hamptons or plan to stay through the winter, make your life less complicated by simplifying your duties and reducing errands. Private Staff Group will help you find the experienced staff to care for pool and your home.

Pool Care Infographic

(SwimmingPool.com)

Personal vs. Private Chef – Two Vastly Different Roles

As seen on

Pantry Rat

If the culinary world is not your bailiwick and you’re not deeply entrenched in the food arena, there’s a chance that many will think these two roles are one and the same. The positions are vastly dissimilar and particularly for recruiters, the demarcation line between the two has to be clearly defined, so there’s no confusion on the job title for the hire.

Personal Chef  – Culinary guru managing their own business and hiring themselves out to a vast array of clients. They’re their own entrepreneurs and IC (independent contractors) for hire. Each job is a separate billed contract, typically not charged by the hour. Depending on the complexity and scope of the engagement, they may require bringing an assistant or a sous chef. The food items are either billed separately or included in the estimate for the individual event or meal prep.

Private Chef  – Hired exclusively to support the culinary needs of a single family to create daily meal prep or plan events of large scale. They’re an employee of the household, collecting a salary and the chef characteristically travels with the family to other locations. The role is salaried, part of payroll and usually reports to the Estate Manager or Chief of Staff. A private chef may be asked to work directly with an outside catering outfit to assist with event planning for large functions.

Personal Chef

  • Out for hire to different clients
  • You are your own boss creating your own schedule
  • You work in your own city unless the client is paying you to travel
  • You bring in your culinary expertise to plan for a specific event
  • Your direction will be to plan and execute menus revolving around a theme for a special function
  • You bring your own knives, tools and maybe some kitchen equipment
  • Specific spices and condiments will be brought along or purchased
  • You have to pay special attention to specified dietary restrictions, food allergies of family and guests
  • Cost of supplies and food are typically billed separately from services
  • Meal prep may be in your kitchen or may require cooking at the client’s home
  • You may need to bring an assistant depending on the complexity and size of the function and include that in the quote
  • You depend on your own marketing to promote your services
  • Heavy social media presence is very crucial to support your brand
  • You rely on referrals and 5-star reviews
  • You have your own vehicle and are able to claim that as a tax deduction as a company car
  • Billing includes applicable taxes, to file your own 1099 tax forms

Private Chef

  • Role required in a UHNW environment
  • The role is typically sourced through an agency since the position is a full-time hire
  • Cordon Bleu and classically trained qualifications are customarily a requirement for the role
  • It may come with a live-in prerequisite
  • You are employed by one family and are part of the household staff
  • The role usually reports to the EM or COS
  • You are on payroll with eligibility for benefits, bonuses and earn a base salary
  • Your schedule revolves around daily, vibrant meal prep and it can change depending on the requirements, visiting family, guests and special occasions
  • You will need to have a solid knowledge of wine pairing for singular menus
  • Food prep and meals will revolve around the residence location, time of year and seasonality of menus/product
  • You become fully aware of dietary restrictions and food allergies, but will have to pay close attention to guests and visiting family members
  • Taxes are deducted from your salary before your net paycheck
  • Your work is performed in the same kitchen unless you are requested to travel to other residences or locations
  • You have the main kitchen at your disposal and the tools and equipment belong to the principal
  • You’ll be juggling with the many personalities working in the household so you will have to be diplomatic
  • You’ll be the one provisioning and prepping without any help – unless there’s a catered function and you can direct people to assist you
  • You may be asked to prepare food at different times other than meal-times

The role of a private chef is becoming exceedingly popular within the UHNW sector, as these roles have been on an upward trend. Each position will require distinct familiarity with Kosher or Vegan denominations, health and fitness diets or certain ethnic specialties. A private chef carries one of the most important and distinctive roles in a household and it has to be a symbiotic marriage, as every principal’s needs and demands will differ and food presented in a UHNW household has to be far from lackluster and needs to border on iconoclastic.

The onset of Covid19 has had more of these private chef roles emerging and one of the prerequisites, apart from the culinary distinction has made them live-in positions.

The accolades and qualifications for a private chef usually need to be significant. Some of these contenders include executive greats that have previously engaged in some high ranked Michelin star locale and have been lured away by a very attractive salary package.

However the transition from executive to private chef can be challenging, as the tone and atmosphere is vastly opposed to the conditions of a corporate milieu, without sous chefs or assistants to prep, clean and serve. You’re cooking on your own and you are a one-person show.

On the flip side, the role of a personal chef yields the flexibility to select from many clients and set your own pace. Some gigs may be recurrent on a weekly basis and others will involve more of an individualistic flair for a specific catered function.

In closing, become familiar with the vast differences that makes both roles so unique. Each carry equal prestige as they showcase the same devotion to the craft. A vastly passionate love affair for the culinary arts.

“TO EAT IS A NECESSITY, TO EAT INTELLIGENTLY IS AN ART” – Francois de La Rochefoucat

BIT OF TRIVIA

Did you know the original criterion for food preparation in the 1900’s up to the 1930’s was set by the wealthy upper classes and it demanded a subtlety in flavor and simplistic perfection, which at times proved a very challenging achievement.

The penchant for not good, but outstanding food in those eras had percolated down to the middle echelons, since the multitude of cooks employed in large estates and manor houses were middle class folk, recommended and retained for the excellence in their craft.

However, some dishes needed to be elevated with sauces and vinaigrettes to mask their bland constitution as most British grub was notoriously flavorless and had to be heightened with a boost from other cultures around the continent.

Wealthy Americans visiting Europe would endeavor to steal or solicit savvy cooks from stately or suburban residences. Acquiring the right chef de cuisine to run a kitchen and staff with distinction, flair and culinary excellence was, well, an indomitable task and the right chef was very hard to find.


Meet Nanette:

Nanette Pantry Rat

Nanette Hebdige is a globetrotter, manager to very large estates, personal assistant, chef by default and modern day female Indiana Jones. A motto she lives by is “pleasure in the job, puts perfection in the work”. Nanette loves being part of the elite private staff industry executing unparalleled services to UHNW clients. A master juggler with exceptional skills and knowledge who delivers pro-active, impeccable lifestyle results.

Safety Protocols for Private Staff Entering Your Home

As seen in

How are high net worth (HNW) private staff employers getting the personal and household services needed and keeping themselves safe?

Employing private staff services for your home and personal needs can be effective if proper observations, safety measures, and new techniques are part of the mix of management and employment practices, in addition to mutual respect. Accommodating transitions, changing situations such as travel, staying abreast of new Covid information, and being kind and caring to your staff enhances the safety results and experience for all.

If you are relocating to another residence, you have the decision to either bring staff with you or hire locally.  

Practical safety includes:

  • Live in vs. Live out
  • Agreement on procedures with disinfectants
  • Changing of clothing when entering and leaving home
  • Select rooms where work is allowed
  • New staff quarantine for two weeks before starting work
  • Establish protocols for individuals entering your home

Interviewing new private staff candidates:

  • Engage private staff recruitment companies to select best fit candidates
  • Interviews through video calls- Zoom, Facetime, etc.
  • Questions: how long have you been symptom-free?  Have you already had Covid-19?  Have you tested positive for the antibodies?
  • If there is an option for Live-in, discuss the arrangements and safeguards
  • Discuss extra duties during the time of virus lock downs
  • How will your staff service needs change post-Covid?

Whether you are hunkered in your bunker, at the beach in the Hamptons, or staying in your main home in Greenwich, thinking through your options, researching best safe practices and extending your plans and rules to your household and personal staff will result in a healthy and happy exit from this time of invisible risks.  

For further information and a discussion of employing private staff safely, please call Stephen Candland at Private Staff Group 203-856-7811 or email: stephen@privatestaffgroup.com.

For more information about New York’s Covid-19 recommendations for domestic employers, please click here.

Considerations for Hiring a Private Chef in New York

During coronavirus quarantines, many affluent New Yorkers are turning to private chefs in lieu of grocery delivery or take-out. Chefs can save long wait-times for groceries, while home-cooked meals are a healthier option to eating restaurant takeout. In addition, using a private chef is relaxing, convenient, and saves time. However, there are several considerations to keep in mind.

When choosing a private chef, it is important to consider all of your needs. For example, do you have any dietary restrictions or nutritional goals? Do you want a chef who specializes in a particular cuisine? Will a chef need to bring their own tools or is your kitchen outfitted with everything? Perhaps the most important consideration is the frequency at which you want them cooking meals for you or your family.The answers to these questions will determine whether you need a personal chef or a private chef.

With a personal chef, you are one of several clients, while a private chef is exclusively yours. A personal chef is great for saving costs, but generally means less flexibility and availability. If you cannot commit to a solid meal time, hiring a personal chef may be wasteful because they typically charge by the hour. Depending on how often and when you want meals prepared, a private chef might be a better choice. With Covid-19 risks, hiring a private chef in New York City may also be safer than a personal chef, especially if they are live-in. However, with safety precautions, any chef with proper training and experience can help.

Once you’ve narrowed down the chef candidates that suit your preferences, there are several recommendations for the final selection. Among the most important, is to ask for a menu or two. Menus give insights into the types of foods your chef might be cooking for you on a day to day basis. If the menu looks appealing, the next step is to request samples. You should also discuss with each candidate who their suppliers are. That will give you an indication about the quality of food you will be tasting. A private chef should have a business license as well as health permit, and they should be familiar with health regulations. Insurance is also important to consider as you move forward given the liabilities associated with food handling.

Finally, word of mouth and reviews are incredibly useful for finding a good chef. Private staffing companies can save you a lot of time and help ensure quality. In addition, staffing companies often provide guarantees that protect their clients.

Hiring a Groundskeeper in Greenwich

Summer is in full bloom in Connecticut. If you own a home and property that need a lot of landscaping and maintenance, you may want to consider hiring a full-time groundskeeper. There are several key considerations when choosing a groundskeeper for your Greenwich, Connecticut property.

The first step is assessing your needs. Are you starting from scratch or wanting to re-landscape your property? Do you need landscape design, construction or sprinkler service? If you have a project, then a full-service groundskeeper is in order. If, on the other hand, you only want to improve upon your existing landscaping or keep it pristine with mowing and pruning, landscape ground maintenance or a property caretaker can help.

In landscaping, you typically get what you pay for as far as quality is concerned. However, something not always reflected in the price is warranty. Does the contracted work include warranties? What about warranties on specific plants?  

Another important consideration is whether or not pest control is part of your groundskeeping service. Certain landscaping can lead to more critters. Proper prevention is vital to stopping pests from doing damage to your plants and trees.  

In the Northeast, like Greenwich, Connecticut, seasonality is essential when considering your landscaping needs. Keeping leaves off your lawn and snow off your sidewalks and driveway is an important service not necessarily needed in other parts of the country. Leaf removal in the fall and snow removal in the winter may be included in some groundskeepers’ regular tasks. Plants that can handle Connecticut’s climate are vital to a well-kept yard. Popular choices include trumpet honeysuckles, New England asters, inkberries, and privet hedges.

One of the best ways to find a quality groundskeeper is through word of mouth. If you’re looking for a full-time groundskeeper for a larger property, you might want to consider working with a private staffing agency. That way you can rest assured your groundskeeper is trustworthy and reliable. Private staffing agencies can do the heavy lifting for you and help you find a caretaker that fits your needs.

Safer at Home – Limiting Risks from Domestic Workers

Protections and services from your household and personal staff

Best practices for virus safety in managing your household and personal staff

Hiring right, receiving productivity and ensuring your protection, health and privacy. Remember, safe measures need to be for both sides – you and your service team.

Interview with Stephen Candland, Partner of Private Staff Group.

Private Staff Group (“PSG”) is a boutique and specialized recruitment search firm serving the distinct staffing needs of exceptional clients for their household, estate, personal and business.

PSG clients typically have multiple homes, large homes, dynamic lifestyles and high expectations for service excellence. Continuation of safe domestic services is possible with proper and custom steps and attention to protections for both the family and the staff.

What are you seeing in safe practices in continuing to use household staff?

Hygiene can include changing of clothes before entering the home. For example, fresh laundered uniform clothing to change into for the domestic worker. Simple black pants/white shirt, etc. Wearing disposable gloves and face-mask is recommended.

Is Live-in an option?

Upscale doormen buildings are reluctant to let in outside domestic workers to the building. Often the workers traveled to the building via subway, etc. If you have a separate quarters or bedroom, could you accommodate a live-in situation. Vacation or second homes, sometimes have guest quarters, pool house, etc. Keeping your staff in your home and on property protects all. Everyone can share supplies, food and work together in a clean environment.

Clients have rented separate apartments or residences for staff quarters.

If I am not comfortable with current staff in my home?

Clients are placing staff on leave of absence (furlough)- typically with full or partial salary. Clients may decide to eliminate any and all outside persons, including vendors from entering the home during this time

How to handle help for relocations to vacation homes, yachts, etc.?

PSG clients have relocated to homes as far away as New Zealand. Most are taking private jets to second homes as an extra precaution. Extensive sanitary cleaning of jets, homes, cars, etc. is critical to peace of mind. We have seen clients send staff ahead to conduct cleaning, and then quarantine themselves (staff) for a couple weeks before joining the client in the home.

Chefs have been taken to second residences as they can handle all the kitchen, shopping, cooking, etc. with confidence as the chef is required to wear proper PPE outside and inside the home, thus reducing exposure risk for principals.

How can Private Staff Group be helpful to my needs?

We have partnered with clients to hire assistants who work virtually. We have recommended exceptional service staff who are willing to Live-in, travel to remote home locations, and be of multi-service such as cook, housekeeper, server, family assistant, etc. PSG finds the best candidates who are prepared to clean properly, be pleasant in the home and a trusted partner to keeping you as safe as possible and enabling a pleasant household environment.

We have wonderful candidates available for short interim situations. PSG and the client often work together to design and implement the right cleaning, orientation and training. Background checks and payroll are offered too.

Let’s work together to get you the hygiene and preventative measures which can be enhanced by your domestic staff. Help in the home can be completely safe and add to the enjoyment and manageability of this confined period.

View Article Here

Summer’s Coming – Time To Assess Your Summer Household Staffing Needs

With summer soon approaching, it’s time to begin preparing your summer home for use and enjoyment. Some individuals and families have domestic staff who remain at both their winter and summer homes year around. Others have employees who travel wherever they are living at the time, and bring in additional part-time staff to supplement their core team as needed. In either case, now is the time to evaluate your household staffing needs.

If you can, speaking with household staff members provides valuable insight into what kind of support you will really need at your other home. You may not need full staff and some of the tasks required may be done remotely, or with the assistance of a year-round Caretaker or Property Manager working in conjunction with members of your year-round staff.

Using the support system you already have in place is a great starting point. Many Estate Managers network with other Estate Managers, vendors and support staff for project-based work such as landscaping, pool and/or tennis court maintenance and catering for events.

Weekend and traveling Nannies will often work on a contracted basis for several weeks, as will Housekeepers and Chefs. A year-round Caretaker, or, depending on the size of the property, Domestic Couple may be a great way to maintain dedicated household staff who can train and manage other domestic staff, as well as work with vendors, and monitor your home in your absence.

During particularly tough winters or after major storms, it may be wise to send out a trusted advisor to assess damages to the home and come up with a plan to make repairs and adjustments according to your budget. Keeping an open line of communication between your remote staff, the staff in your primary residence and any contractors and vendors is crucial to maintaining organization and efficiency.

Household staff considerations with Coronavirus include:

  • Regular testing of staffers (if possible)
  • Personal protective gear: gloves and masks
  • Wiping down surfaces, phones, door knobs, the kitchen and bathroom appliances, etc.
  • If you have a Live IN option for staff?
  • Consult other authorities and resources for home sanitizing advice

In order to have household staff in place, trained and prepared by Memorial Day weekend, contacting agencies as early as early April might be appropriate. While short-term domestic help is available, finding qualified individuals can take time.

About Private Staff Group

Private Staff Group presents you with every possible best-fit candidate for your position. Whether you are preparing to staff your summer home or planning for the future, Private Staff Group offers a guarantee period with all placements. Should the candidate leave your employment within 90 days for any reason, we will replace them at no additional charge. To learn more about what we can do we invite you to contact us today.

Private Staff Group Featured in Palm Beach Society

The Palm Beach Society features our very own Stephen Candland. He discusses the benefits of hiring from a household staffing agency and gives advice on selecting the best employees.

Getting the best results and value from your household and personal staff

Best practices in managing your household and personal staff. Hiring right, receiving productivity and ensuring your protection and privacy.

Interview with Stephen Candland, Partner of Private Staff Group. Private Staff Group is a boutique and specialized recruitment search firm serving the distinct staffing needs of exceptional clients for their household, estate, personal and business.

What’s new in staffing for luxury homes?

Clients are seeking talent who has both the right skill set and experiences to be highly functional, but also the perfect fit in demeanor. We find clients are seeking the long-term tenure and the independent work ethic which relieve the client from constant supervision.

How do you best protect your privacy and safety of your assets?

A thorough interviewing, screening and reference checking process is the baseline. We conduct background checks through the #1 investigation service for criminal, driving, litigation, etc. Employment and Confidentiality Agreements are highly recommended, and we provide samples.

What’s the advantage of using a recruitment agency vs. doing it myself?

Privacy, selection and a professional process. Private Staff Group assists with the preparation of the job description and setting a compensation range appropriate to the position. We have unlimited resources to find exactly the right candidate for your hire. Candidates do not meet you until they have been pre-screened, saving you time and ensuring your privacy.

Best practices after the hire to get the highest productivity and value?

Treat your staff as if they were employees of your business. Human resources practices make employees feel like professionals and raise their commitment and work ethic. Regular performance reviews, reasonable communication of criticisms, work adjustments and praise. Salary reviews and alignment of schedules to your needs and theirs.

How do I know if I am paying a market rate?

We have salary charts and surveys for every position. Making a poor hire and having turnover is expensive compared to the satisfaction of a properly compensated long-term valued employee.

How do I organize the optimal staff coverage when I move between multiple homes and travel frequently?

Cleaning and personal service needs should be modeled to the size of the home, usage patterns, your budget and service level preferences. Staff can be found who are fine to move between residences. Live-in, mixing staff, custom schedules and outsourcing vendors can be options.

How do I know it’s the right candidate for me and my needs?

The interview process should include multiple interviews and comparisons of alternative candidates. Finding the right fit in personality, communication and attitude is equally important to skills and experience.

The best part of employing staff at my home or for my personal or business needs?

More time for enjoyment of family and friends, leveraging your talents to do what you love and/or build your business. Your home(s) and lifestyle are truly a reflection of your ambitions, expectations and dreams.

Palm Beach Society

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What to Look for When Conducting Background Checks for a Private Staff Employee

When you are looking to hire a domestic employee, you need to be able to trust them. Depending on their job, they will have access to valuable things such as personal assets or money. Because of this, it is a necessary precaution to conduct a thorough background check on candidates. Whether it is a criminal record or a driving infraction, you should know what a candidate has done in the past and if this will affect their work.

Of course, a criminal check is the first thing to consider. Anything that comes up in a criminal check should be taken seriously. Any record of violence, theft, substance abuse, etc. should be thoughtfully considered. An applicant who has been background checked should have signed a release, making it reasonable for you to reach out to them and discuss anything you find.

In addition to this, if the candidate will have access to cash and credit cards, it is important to run a credit check on them. Note their creditors and assess the difference between a candidate who went through a financial hardship in their life and fell behind compared to someone who has erratic spending habits and is clearly living outside of their means. Allow the candidate to explain their situation, what steps they have taken to correct any issues, and their plans for next steps.

A bad driving record is also something to consider. If the candidate will be driving you or your family regularly, such as a chauffeur or nanny, any blemish on their driving record can indicate carelessness and could be putting the lives of you and your family in danger. There is a difference between running a red light after maintaining a clean record for 10 years and a consistent pattern of bad behavior: when in doubt, always trust your gut. It is never a bad idea to speak with the candidate about any issues you see and see how they react or explain themselves.

Another area to consider is employment and education verifications. Major differences in these can be an extremely negative sign. A falsified background means not only is this candidate potentially unable to perform the duties set forth in the position but can indicate some bad qualities about their personality and morals in general.

Particularly in domestic situations, security is paramount and if anything seems untrustworthy, it should not go without discussing openly with your applicant. You should discuss any discrepancies you find during your background check with your candidate. There are situations where the candidate may be able to explain themselves, however, if you do not have a good feeling about something you find, it is best just to find another candidate who will make you feel at ease.

About Private Staff Group

There are important pre and post-employment considerations when hiring private staff such as nannies, personal assistants, estate/household managers, housekeepers, etc. Private Staff Group performs exhaustive profiling assessments on all candidates, sharing results, references and background checks. To learn more about our process we invite you to contact us today.

How A Personal Concierge Service Can Help with Your Busy Life

Many of us are familiar with concierges at hotels. But as the lives of ordinary people continue to get busier, personal concierge services are becoming much more common.

The word concierge comes from the French comte des cierges, the “keeper of the candles.” This was the servant in medieval castles who tended to the needs of visiting noblemen. Eventually, the name “concierge” came to stand for keeper of the keys at public buildings. Now in hotels it is the person who provides services such as making accommodations, recommendations or reservations for their guests.

A personal or corporate concierge service provides personal errands, solves particular problems, and can even work on a virtual basis. A Personal Assistant handles all the Concierge activities and is tailored to your personal life. A concierge is not as personal and does not need a real knowledge of your lifestyle.

A concierge service can have one self-employed person handling all requests, or consist of a group of concierge professionals who specialize in dealing with particular clients.
Personal or corporate concierges can be on-site or on-call. They can do just about anything that needs to get done, including, but certainly not limited to:

  • Housekeeping and organizing
  • Pet Care
  • Errands
  • Car repairs and upkeep
  • Event planning
  • Personal shopping and gift buying
  • Plant care
  • Making appointments
  • Picking up dry cleaning
  • Moving assistance
  • Travel arrangements
  • Handling of correspondences
  • Meal pickup, chef services, market runs
  • Reservations
  • Personal inventory
  • Interior decorating
  • Research

A bittersweet aspect of the growing job market is that so many people have returned to work and therefore do not have the time or resources to take care of personal tasks. If your busy life is overwhelming you then, hiring a concierge service to make the phone calls and run the errands for you, may be just what you need.

About Private Staff Group

At Private Staff Group our technologies, our recruitment team and our candidate networks are second to none when it comes to finding the personal, private, and domestic professionals you can count on. Ensuring you are paired with the right candidate is our top priority. To learn more about what we can do we invite you to contact us today.

Hire a Domestic Couple: Traditional vs. Nontraditional

Hiring a domestic couple is a great option if you are looking for a team of two individuals to work together. Occasionally, you may be presented with a unique option in which a “couple” does not have a connection other than their professional background. In other words, they may present themselves as a couple and have willingness to work as one but not actually be a couple by definition – a nontraditional domestic couple.

Typically, a nontraditional couple is two people who have worked or lived closely with each other in the past, know they work very well together as a team, but are not actually life partners. When comparing a nontraditional domestic couple with a traditional one, there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Depending on your specific needs, you should consider what kind of couple would help you the most.

Benefits of a Traditional Domestic Couple:

  • A united team working towards a common goal
  • The ability to share living space
  • Having a shared past, experience problem solving, brainstorming, etc.
  • An understanding of how each other works – they can hit the ground running

Potential Challenges with a Traditional Domestic Couple:

  • If you need to let go of one employee, you may have to let go of both as they come as a team. (Sometimes, while they may both be talented candidates, their strengths and weaknesses don’t balance out to meet your needs. For example, they are both good cooks but neither of them are particularly skilled at working with children.)
  • Couples usually would like to take their vacation time together

Benefits of a Nontraditional Domestic Couple:

  • Are flexible to take separate vacation days
  • Are flexible to be separated if needed
  • Can work more independently of each other
  • Different backgrounds and sets of ideals may lead to more creative problem solving

Potential Challenges with a Nontraditional Domestic Couple:

  • May require more living space
  • May not have had too much experience in a similar position working very closely together

Every situation is unique and therefore requires its own distinct set of expectations as well as limitations. What can work in one situation may not work in another so it is best to take everything into consideration when deciding what kind of couple you would benefit from hiring.

About Private Staff Group

At Private Staff Group our technologies, our recruitment team and our candidate networks are second to none when it comes to finding the personal, private, and domestic professionals you can count on. If you want to hire a domestic couple, we can pair you with the right candidates. To learn more about what we can do we invite you to contact us today.

The Importance of Employment Contracts When Hiring Domestic Staff

When hiring a new employee, whether a personal chef, personal assistant, nanny or any other household staff, an employment contract is a great opportunity for you and the new hire to go over all the details of the role.

Important Aspects to Include in Your Domestic Staff Contracts

  • Employee title
  • Employee duties and responsibilities
  • Compensation & Payrolling
  • Benefits
  • Hours
  • Vacation, personal and sick days as well as disability, maternity, bereavement and other absences
  • Confidentiality: proprietary information
  • Rules and Regulations
  • Disciplinary/Termination procedures
  • Notice periods

Discussing these will help both you and your new employee to understand the expectations you have for each other. Presenting a new household employee with a contract and allowing them time to review and ask questions is a great way to make sure everyone understands the job and is in agreement from the start.

While a contract provides accountability, as you and your employee are now held legally responsible for maintaining the standards set forth in the contract, you should also keep in mind that there is a lack of flexibility as well. A contract locks you into terms you may want to alter later, which means engaging in new negotiations that could potentially end not mutually beneficial. Sometimes, it is best to have a different contract made for each domestic staff role tailored specifically to them, in order to ensure the contract is as fair as possible.

About Private Staff Group

There are important pre and post-employment considerations when hiring private staff. Once staff is onboard, an employer needs to ensure proper IRS and state and local employment compliance and payroll tax obligations. Private Staff Group offers employment solutions to handle these important staffing requirements. For more information on our staffing solutions, contact us today.

How Private Staff Services Have Changed Over The Years

Private staff services have certainly changed over the years. In a recent Town & Country issue, they discussed the changes in job titles and new specialists that have taken over the modern households. In addition to the unique added roles, traditional positions can take on more responsibilities.

Combining Responsibilities

One of the big changes over the years has been combining responsibilities of your staff. Clients may realize they need a little bit of help here and there, but don’t need a full-time person for anything specific. Adding more responsibilities to a position can help save money. An Estate Manager can handle all of the estate matters, but they can also take on troubleshooting around the estate or increasing security. A client may not need two full time employees, so grouping tasks can provide benefits.

New Jobs Coming Into the Private Staffing Market

With modern trends constantly changing, the upper class continues to seek gurus in those areas. In 2019, we witnessed trends range from a morning celery juice to improve your health, all the way to crystals to improve your mood and energy. These job titles have opened up because of popular demand. While there are still the traditional positions being requested (housekeeper, chauffeur, and cook) the demand for nontraditional positions continues to rise. It is up to the staffing agencies to find the best possible candidates for their clients.

Read the Town & Country Article

About Private Staff Group

At Private Staff Group our technologies, our recruitment team and our candidate networks are second to none when it comes to finding the personal, private, and domestic professionals you can count on. Ensuring you are paired with the right candidate for your unique needs is our top priority. To learn more about what we can do we invite you to contact us today.

How Estate Managers Can Bring Value To Your Household Staff Through Technology

In this day and age, almost everything is becoming digitalized. Not only is technology changing the way we communicate, but how society as a whole is adapting to a faster lifestyle. So it’s only common sense that there is a lot of value in staff that knows their way around a smartphone, computer, and other useful technologies. There are many benefits to having household staff that is tech savvy, especially when it comes to the following:

  • Smart home technology – This includes security systems, heating and cooling systems, and others. Having staff that can effectively use and control smart home technology, both remotely and manually, can make many aspects of your home run more smoothly.
  • Online purchasing – Your staff can perform personal shopping tasks, such as buying gifts and household items, more quickly by ordering online. Having an employee who knows trusted sites and how to find the right product can save you a lot of time and money.
  • Budgeting – The ability to monitor expenses, plan financially for the future, and track spending trends over time is a valuable skill for any household employee to have. From vendor expenses to household inventory to daily spending, it is always beneficial to keep a running and accurate record. Employees who are well versed in programs that track expenses are more likely to enter items immediately and accurately, resulting in less error and oversight.
  • Inventory – Having staff members who keep an eye on household inventory via a digital spreadsheet can be very useful for a smooth running household. They can help monitor quantities of specific items, identify when items are expiring, and when they need to be replaced, allowing you to stay ahead of potential shortages.
  • Research – Being able to efficiently research online is important to find out about new products, activities, procedures, recent events, and so on. Having a staff member who is able to effectively get the information needed can be beneficial to all aspects of your household.
  • Communication – Being tech savvy makes communication in the workplace overall a much more seamless process. Availability and ability to communicate over various platforms allow staff to be more reliable, informed, and resourceful.

About Private Staff

Private Staff Group presents you with every possible best-fit candidate for your position. At Private Staff Group we offer a guarantee period with all placements. Should the candidate leave your employment within 90 days for any reason, we will replace them at no additional charge. To learn more about what we can do we invite you to contact us today.

The Benefits of Hiring Staff That Attended a Training Program

When searching for qualified household staff, you may wonder about the benefits of hiring a candidate who has attended a training program over one who has not. Although training programs shouldn’t be mandatory when considering candidates, they do offer advantages that should be noted. Different programs are geared towards different skills, so this is also something that should be considered, depending on your specific needs.

On-Site Job Training

Some training programs have professionals who visit estates to work with staff and teach them new techniques, help them brush up on or refresh their knowledge, train their new hires, or take on special projects. This is a great way to foster teamwork, get all of your staff members working together towards a similar goal, and ensure all employees are working according to a certain standard. In addition, a training program of this sort can help a candidate become more well rounded, as they would be able to learn about tasks that they previously may not have been asked to do in their career.

Private Staff Training Schools

There are training programs that are more of an actual academy where candidates are looking to learn a particular set of practical skills. Private service training schools provide education on a variety of skills, including:

  • Technical skills such as household technology, upkeep, and repairs
  • Management training such as calendar management, schedule making, onboarding and training, and terminations
  • Formal service
  • Clothing maintenance and repairs

Regardless of the type of training program, there are overall benefits of hiring a candidate who has attended one. A training program can help a candidate brush up his or her skills when returning to the industry if they have been away from it for some time. For a candidate looking to change their career, perhaps from corporate to private service, a training program ensures they have had proper preparation. Candidates in these programs also network with each other, helping them to better know and understand the nuances of each position within the domestic services industry.

Something to consider is that a candidate who is lighter on experience but has attended a training program is not set on particular work habits. They may be more sensitive to personal tastes and preferences. In other words, working for a long time in either a relaxed home or a very formal home can affect future habits and behavior of a candidate.

The pluses of outside or on-site training for domestic staff are many. This being said, the most crucial element to finding great household staff is still fit: how they fit with your family, your style, and your other employees.

About Private Staff Group

At Private Staff Group each training program is tailored to fit our client’s needs. We focus our knowledge and expertise on ensuring our training and solutions offer immediate results and long-term value. Our training and solutions programs can help to optimize productivity of your household staff and increase your satisfaction by perfecting skills to fit the requirements of your lifestyle and home. To learn more about our training programs and how we can help you, we invite you to contact us today.

Finding Value in the Soft Skills when Hiring Private Staff

When giving thought to the criteria that’s most important to you in hiring someone for a specific household staff position, it’s important to consider both hard skills (aptitudes) and soft skills (chemistry). Hard skills are those that either the candidate has or can be taught such as computer proficiency, bookkeeping, accounting, writing skills, a legal discipline, and so on. These are usually fairly easy to ascertain and will be vetted properly by your recruiter early on in the recruitment process. However, the soft skills are of equal importance, if not more so, especially when making hiring decisions for positions that reside within the intimacies of a home. They are the many nuances that help to identify the right fit.

So, how does a family evaluate those soft or intangible qualities in just a few hours? Here are some tips to assessing soft skills in an interview.

When a candidate arrives for an interview, engage in conversations with them as opposed to a question and answer type of interview. Avoid questions with “yes” or “no” responses. Focus more on the attributes that would make for a great fit.

Finding the Right Fit for Your Private Staff:

  • Were they punctual?
  • Were they organized and prepared for the meeting?
  • Were they neatly groomed and appropriately dressed?
  • Did they give you a firm handshake?
  • Did they make eye contact with you?
  • What did their body language tell you when they spoke about their prior work experience?
  • What was their tone of voice?
  • Was their demeanor calm or overly excitable?
  • Does the candidate have an upbeat personality without being in your face?
  • What about polish and manners?
  • Will the candidate have the necessary patience for example if they have to show a family member how to attach a document to an email for the fifth time?

Try to create a comfortable environment so that the candidate will feel at ease and be themselves. They will then be prone to share more about themselves… when they might even divulge old war stories from their past. That’s when you will be able to get a sense of their character. Note whether or not their grammar and articulation are as consistent as they become more at ease.

Observe how they engage or disengage with your family, including your children and pets. This will give added insight into their level of suitability within your home. Ask the candidate to talk about their favorite job and why it was their favorite job. Also, ask the candidate about their personal interests and what they like to do with their free time. Even something as simple as serving a meal or a cup of tea will give you a sense of how the candidate conducts themselves.

These seemingly simple observations are, in fact, invaluable tools that should not be overlooked when evaluating the spot-on fit of someone who will be working within your home with you and your family.

About Private Staff Group

Private Staff Group presents you with every possible best-fit candidate for your position. We stay with you well beyond the guarantee period to provide additional coaching, refinement and advice about best employment practices. At Private Staff Group we offer a guarantee period with all placements. Should the candidate leave your employment within 90 days for any reason, we will replace them at no additional charge. To learn more about what we can do we invite you to contact us today.