Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Alter Ego Helps Moms Pick The Right Help

Good Communication Makes For A Happy Home

Today, Moms are busier than ever. With the responsibilities of managing a warm and loving home, balancing a career, and making time for a healthy relationship, it has become impossible not to ask for help. Finding the right person to help can be the difference between continuous worry and peace of mind.

The first step is to do your homework. Are you planning on networking, or using an agency? If you plan to use an agency to aid in your search, finding the right one that understands your needs, expectations and budget is vital. Make sure your agency is licensed and insured. A great agency will offer a trial period, have a guarantee policy, and perform background checks on their candidates.

Secondly, be specific with your guidelines. Now is the time to clearly define what is important to you and your family to live your best life. If you need someone who can drive, travel with you every summer, has a college degree, or can also help with light housekeeping, now is the time to say it. You want to meet candidates who are the best fit for your position. You want to ensure that will be a good fit in the future.

Thirdly, ask the right questions. Listen and pay attention. Are you looking for a nanny who will be with your family for the next 10 years? If so, during the interview, talk with your candidate about long-term career goals. What are their expectations? Work/childcare philosophy? Starting off on the right foot is the foundation to building this relationship.

Now that you have found someone with your same philosophy and values, open communication is essential. Here are our best tips for building good communication and respect:

1.) Set boundaries. It is much easier to manage expectations and show that you respect their role in your home by clear communication.

2.) Keep a schedule. You are running late from the office, your spouse has a PTA meeting, you were dying to get your haircut after work. When unforeseen changes occur in your schedule, it is customary to give proper notice and make sure that your nanny is ok with the extra hours. From our experience, most nannies do not mind picking up some extra hours IF they are told in advance. Their time is just as valuable, and they too have worked a long day.

3.) Compensate accordingly. In line with the above, if your staff has to work extra hours, it certainly should not be for free. Make sure your nanny knows that his or her hard work isn’t going unnoticed.

4.) Leave a paper trail. By providing a clear job description during an interview, a list of rules and guidelines in a contract/confidentiality agreement, it is essential to demonstrate that you envision this as a formal position. By laying out a schedule, compensation & benefits, and annual review, you will both be clear on your expectations.

5.) Respect. This cannot be emphasized enough. Make yourselves available and approachable by making time to have a conversation. 

 About The Author - Caitlin Hofherr:

Before founding Alter Ego Concierge, Caitlin Hofherr worked as the director of a lifestyle management and staffing agency in New York, catering to the needs of an elite clientele ranging from Fortune 500 CEO’s to today's biggest celebrities. Beginning her career in the fashion industry working in public relations, Caitlin brought unparalleled customer service to the staffing industry, finding the perfect fit for her clients' household needs. Highly regarded by her clients and peers in the industry, Caitlin has taken her expertise to Chicago, establishing Alter Ego Concierge to bring the finest in lifestyle management services. Alter Ego Concierge is Chicago’s premier full service concierge and domestic staffing agency, offering clients the ability to truly maximize their time to live a stress free life. Alter Ego Concierge challenges their clients to “Meet The Organized You” offering everything from nannies, housekeepers, personal assistants and chefs to drivers, on-set tutors, estate managers and on-call assistants. 

 Visit for a full list of expansive services, email or call 312-802-2337.

Special Offer For Moms In The City Readers: mention MITC when you register at Alter Ego Concierge and receive 20% off your next hire. Offer good through August 1, 2010. 

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