Should I do regular job evaluations?

The answers you find here are intended to serve as suggested best practices for domestic employment, and have been crafted by Hand in Hand with the National Domestic Workers Alliance. They are designed to help you take steps toward creating a mutually beneficial domestic employment relationship—and help set a framework for conversations with the domestic worker(s) you employ. Please understand that these suggested best practices may differ based on the particular domestic employment relationship and that these possible best practices do not constitute legal advice.

In any workplace, job evaluations are important opportunities for employers and employees to share affirmations and concerns and make necessary adjustments. Ideally, you will have established a written work agreement that specifies that evaluations will take place annually, though you might both feel that every six months could be useful.

Please Note: If you raise the idea of an evaluation meeting mid-stream in your employment relationship, it can set off an alarm for the worker you employ. She may fear that you are preparing to fire her or otherwise tell her you are dissatisfied. What’s helpful to say: I’d like to plan time for a job evaluation. It’ll be a chance for us to check in and give each other feedback. We’ll focus on what’s working and what could improve.

In addition to evaluations, you should try to have regular, brief check-ins, even weekly (Fridays can be a good day), to discuss any needed changes. Remember to schedule these short meetings when both of you have the time.

How should I conduct an evaluation meeting? A good way to start is to express your appreciation for everything the worker has contributed to your family in the past months or year. You can take this opportunity to share specific, positive observations about her work.

Then you can discuss areas of her job performance where there is room for improvement. Refer to the work agreement if that’s useful, making sure you both have copies of the agreement.

Next, it will be her chance to tell you where there is room for improvement. Remember that as the employer, you hold power in this conversation. Reassure her that you want to hear what’s really on her mind. This is the time for her to share any concerns she has, or to discuss barriers to being able to successfully fulfill her responsibilities. Let her know that the goal of the conversation is to sustain a positive environment for her to do the important work that she does.

Together you can outline an action plan that lays out steps everyone will take to address concerns raised in the discussion.

Looking Ahead: An evaluation meeting is a good opportunity to discuss any big changes you want to make to the terms of a worker’s employment (such as reduced or expanded hours) or her responsibilities (a new baby on the way).

Annual evaluation meetings often culminate with a pay increase. A domestic worker’s pay can and should be increased for many reasons including a change in responsibilities or a change in the hours worked each day, or you could offer a raise based on length of employment.


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