When you hire individuals to clean your private residence, prepare food for parties, or care for your children, relationships are born. The domestic staff you hire to run your households or drive your vehicles will come to know you and your family intimately—all the quirks and knowledge of how your family ticks and your level of affluence.
The nature of each staff member’s role determines the amount of access to private information each holds. Though you might build personal relationships with your staff, managing domestic staff appropriately extends beyond pleasantries exchanged in hallways or providing holiday bonuses – a professional relationship is key to a solid foundation. To keep your family’s lives running smoothly and help protect your assets from an insider attack, you should take steps to ensure the strength and security of staffing relationships.
Who am I hiring?
Today’s reality of hiring—and keeping—trustworthy domestic staff involves regularly performing background checks. Not regularly conducting them is a common pitfall that can thwart the security of your relationship. A thorough background check can provide ample clarity about who may or may not be a good candidate to work in your home. Too many crimes are committed against employers who have domestic staff working in the home, and some of them might have been prevented by having a background check protocol in place.
At times, when an incident occurs involving domestic staff that would be a red flag on a background check, families will take a “let’s work it out between us” approach. This can be a costly mistake. Not properly documenting issues can create more risk, especially if an incident involves criminal activity.
They’re a member of the family – but they’re not.
Remember, your home is their workplace, so domestic staff have access to your most private information. Because many families grow close to those they hire, mistakes can be made, such as treating or telling staff they are “like family.” The temptation to give domestic staff a false, unconditional sense of assurance can lead to unwanted consequences.
Treat your at-home staff as you would any employee in other workplaces, clearly communicating expectations, boundaries, and the requirement for confidentiality. Maintaining a professional relationship between you and your staff will help ensure that you remain compliant with employment laws and can make it easier if you need to have performance-related discussions.
What should you do?
No one wants an insider attack to occur, yet the odds of one happening in today’s economy are increasing. When inflation is running high or recession is on the horizon, the threat of fraud increases for affluent families. Often, the theft is from those closest to you—employees who are aware of your affluence. The risk of an insider attack also increases if your efforts to maintain their understanding of your expectations and your due diligence in keeping up with security protocol cease after their onboarding.
Think about implementing these steps to manage domestic staff appropriately and strengthen accountability and trust:
- Set up regular meetings. The intention of holding meetings with your domestic staff regularly eliminates miscommunication and builds trust over time. For staff at other homes outside your primary location, the necessity for frequent communication increases because you’re less likely to see them on a day-to-day basis.
- Conduct frequent background checks. Gather information about your current staff to identify if they are experiencing financial trouble, like bankruptcy or have any recent arrests, like a DUI. Consider conducting background checks at least every quarter.
- Update domestic staff employment manuals. Having a proper foundation for both employees and the employer to rely on can prove valuable when the unexpected occurs. Update the manual when changes occur, such as a change in job duties or additions to confidentiality expectations to ensure everyone is on the same page.
- Include status updates on domestic staff with your team. When you meet with your accountant, investment manager, insurance advisor, and attorney, each should be aware of any changes to your staff roster or their responsibilities. Having access to a multitude of experts with niche expertise can provide you with insights you may overlook to further help protect your assets and family.
- Use insurance and risk management to strengthen relationships. By working with your insurance advisor, you can maintain a relevant, personalized risk management and insurance program that simultaneously enables your staff to do their jobs and protects you and your family from the many risks that come with employing them. Talk to your insurance advisor about workers’ compensation and employment practices liability insurance, as well as hiring and employment best practices to continually manage these dynamic risks.
Not only do you want to hire with confidence, but you need to also manage domestic staff in a way that breeds security and your peace of mind. Given the risks involved with employing domestic staff, consulting with our Advisors will help you put the best risk management program in place for your needs.
Connect with our Private Risk team today to learn how we can work together to protect your now and your future.
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. BRP Group, Inc. and its affiliates, do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. Please consult with your own tax, legal or accounting professionals before engaging in any transaction.