Ex­pats pay more and are thought­ful em­ploy­ers

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - Xia Jun,

pres­i­dent of the Shang­hai Changn­ing Dis­trict Homemak­ing Ser­vice As­so­ci­a­tion

started my ca­reer in the field of do­mes­tic work by open­ing an agency in Shang­hai in 2000, spe- cial­iz­ing in help­ing ex­pat fam­i­lies find lo­cal nan­nies. Through the ex­pe­ri­ence, I dis­cov­ered that lo­cal em­ploy­ers can learn a lot from their ex­pat coun­ter­parts.

Ex­pats make the rules pretty clear be­fore the em­ploy­ment re­la­tion­ship be­gins. They tell the can­di­date how big their apart­ment is, how many bed­rooms and bath­rooms it has and how many peo­ple are usu­ally in the fam­ily home.

That is im­por­tant, but Chi­nese em­ploy­ers al­most al­ways just pro­vide the same re­marks: ‘There are just a few peo­ple in our fam­ily, and the house­work in our home is very sim­ple.’

That’s ac­tu­ally un­help­ful for a pos­i­tive two-way se­lec­tion and could com­pli­cate what should be a co­op­er­a­tive re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two sides in the fu­ture.

Usu­ally, Chi­nese em­ploy­ers make sure the house­keeper fully un­der­stands most of the liv­ing habits of the fam­ily on the first day. That may in­clude things such as what they like or dis­like eat­ing, the spe­cific brands of cheese and yo­gurt to buy, and how they want their shirts ironed.

Ex­pats show more re­spect for rules and con­tracts. When a nanny works for them, they are usu­ally very nice to her. But if they find her be­hav­ior in­ap­pro­pri­ate, they talk to the agency di­rectly and sug­gest dis­con­tin­u­ing the em­ployee’s con­tract, in­stead of talk­ing to the nanny her­self.

Ex­pats treat nan­nies and do­mes­tic work­ers more like em­ploy­ees of a com­pany, pro­vid­ing ben­e­fits such as an­nual leave, usu­ally in sum­mer or around Christ­mas when the fam­ily trav­els over­seas. They pay at least 30 per­cent more than lo­cal fam­i­lies be­cause they have higher re­quire­ments in terms of ap­pear­ance, ed­u­ca­tional back­ground and spo­ken English.

House­keep­ers from the Philip­pines are fa­mous for their pro­fes­sional ethics, good man­ners, out­go­ing per­son­ali- ties and strong sense of ser­vice. Those at­tributes are warmly wel­comed in places such as the United States, Sin­ga­pore and Hong Kong.

We have in­vited a house­keep­ing trainer from the Philip­pines to give our em­ploy­ees a se­ries of lec­tures re­lated to re­fined, pro­fes­sional ser­vices, from house clean­ing to play­ing with the chil­dren and walk­ing the dog. She will ar­rive later this month.

Xia Jun spoke with Zhou Went­ing.

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