Operating a fully functional estate requires more than an estate or business manager at the helm. It often demands a network of domestic workers, landscapers and groundskeepers, drivers, childcare providers and more to keep a household running smoothly.
The staffing and management of a household is a weighty task, with employees often being one of the biggest—and more overlooked—risks for high net worth individuals. Responsible estate management should take into account the principal’s needs in regards to hiring, human resources and risk management, employing best practices and due diligence in all areas. The principal and employees deserve a fully professional experience from first to last day on the job.
Our latest ebook explains how to assess staffing needs and recruit domestic personnel, and employers’ legal and tax requirements. Below, we highlight a few key points.
Build a Household Organizational Chart
A household’s organizational chart can vary widely based on the size and complexity of the estate. Positions may be as broad as “executive housekeeper” or as narrow as “ironer.” Consider for each area of responsibility:
- Approximately how many hours are needed each week?
- Is this an ongoing need, or a seasonal one?
- What is the estate’s staffing budget?
- What is a competitive salary for this position? Vendor rates?
Based on the weekly hours needed, see if multiple needs can be combined into a “generalist” household position.
Draft Job Descriptions for Each Hire
When you are ready to hire, draft job descriptions for each position. Individualized, documented job descriptions help you:
- Attract qualified candidates.
- Align desired roles with the principal’s expectations.
- Outline job expectations (which can be referenced later in management and performance evaluations).
- Provide a reference for compensation and hiring decisions.
Job descriptions should be specific, action-oriented and tailored to each position.
Screen Candidates Thoroughly
All hires should follow a standard hiring process. As a best practice, include the following conditional employment practices:
- Background check
- Nondisclosure agreement
- Reference check
- Workers’ compensation screening
Also conduct additional vetting: Look into candidate’s background for red flags, such as past lawsuits or issues with former employers. Confirm candidate has job-specific requirements (i.e. a valid driver’s license and car insurance for a driver; CPR certification for a caretaker).
Run a Risk-Averse Estate
High net worth individuals are more likely to be the primary target of crimes and lawsuits due to the additional attention drawn to their deep pockets and public prominence. Employees are possibly the biggest, and the most overlooked, risk for high net worth and celebrity individuals.
Download our guide for a comprehensive look at domestic staff management.