woman with irritated expression

My helper cannot follow instructions…

Most employers encounter issues with their helpers. We have met various employers of different backgrounds and receiving questions such as:

  1. Why can my helper ever follow my instructions?
  2. When I told her to complete task, she kept saying “YES” and “I understand”. Yet the result is opposite to what I ask of her.
  3. If she doesn’t understand, why doesn’t she ask?
  4. I thought she was an experienced helper. If so, why does she perform this way?

Our advice to employers: No matter how experienced a helper is, she is adapting to a new challenge when she comes to your home / family. No two employers are exactly the same. Your expectations, your needs and your way of communication are different from her previous employer. In addition, if your helper is fresh to Singapore, they need a longer time to adapt to both the new country’s culture and your family. Just like when we join a new company, we will need a period of 1 to 3 months to adjust to the new environment.

Based on experience with different helpers, we concluded these:

  • They thought they understandA different communication method will give out different results. Imagine when you’re being taught to operate a DVD player. You understand direct instructions, but you will absorb more when we are shown hands on directive. Sometimes, language barriers cause a larger miscommunication gap, too.
  • They would “look stupid” or get scolded if they say I don’t understandSadly, most of helpers have this mindset. Your assurance and acceptance is important for them.
  • Helper had once asked her employer when they didn’t understand. Employer replied “I already told you before, why do you ask again?”Such occurrences turn out to be familiar and more frequent than employers realize. We need to understand that some helpers require a longer learning curve. When we put in some patience to guide them, we will reap the benefit.

In order to minimize misunderstanding and miscommunication, our suggestions are:

  1. Demonstrate the task you need your helper to do
  2. Ask them to show you doing it, to make sure she gets it right
  3. Repeat a few times before letting her do it herself

Most of the problems between employer and helper are communication issues. If you face difficulties understanding your helper due to language barrier and/or other reasons, reach out to your agent for help.

Feel free to contact us for suggestions on effective communication with your helper.