I have been watching a trend in our profession. The expectations of our Principals are dramatically increasing. This is true as our employer marketplace has grown to include many new high-net worth employers who are quick, very smart, and assume that our Private Service profession is seasoned and well developed. It’s my opinion, but as yet, the transformation from uneducated servitude to Household Management is incomplete!
Per my many interactions with the Wall Street Journal, there are reasonably 9 million employers of private staff and growing.
Our current economy shows a greatly diminished middle class. Meanwhile, the upper class has grown and our profession just does not have the educated and seasoned personnel to support it.
The collective mind of our profession has been centered in the old ways of private, old guard service – where the female principal of the home understands her role of setting the household standards and putting a functional structure in place, in which the staff can both complete their duties and serve. New persons entering the profession expect to be told what to do, and that these expectations will be reasonable.
This however, is not what is occurring. New employers, especially in this underemployed environment we find ourselves in, expect to have a plethora of highly educated, seasoned, skilled, and ready candidates who know what they are doing, know how to set up service management plans, and know how to effectively train and support private service staff in multiple residences.
In truth, there are few individuals who have been really trained in Household Management; those who are experienced do not typically come with real management background or possess service management tools. They ultimately still operate in crisis modes. Further, there are not enough of those that do genuinely have the “right stuff” to fill the current need.
In some instances, General Manager’s of the hotel world have been recruited on the scene for the larger 20,000 square foot homes, but they too do not have the Private Service savvy or real service management expertise. Wall Street hoteliers have been trained in the business of service, not the service of service, and are used to having a seasoned technical support in place – both in the front and in the back of the house.
What’s the answer? Continue to get yourself educated!
This profession is not going away anytime soon. Be wary of positions where there are employers who are new to service, where there is not a “Service Management Plan” to meet their specific service expectations in place. Principals must too recognize that they have a role to play in receiving excellent service; they must know what they want and staff accordingly.