KPIs for maids may not resolve work relationship woes

A maid working in Singapore.
A maid working in Singapore.PHOTO: ST FILE

We note the views of Mr Lawrence Koh, (Maids should have KPIs too, Sept 17) and Ms Deborah Desloge Fordyce, president of Transient Workers Count Too (Match KPIs for maids with rights, protections, Sept 20).

We strongly believe in a fruitful and happy employer-foreign domestic worker (FDW) relationship.

Many employers do not have key performance indicators (KPIs) for their FDWs and yet they have an excellent working relationship with them.

In fact, we should look at how we can strengthen the employer-FDW relationship to address work expectations and demands, and the potential causes that may undermine the worker's trust and confidence.

Having an FDW is a new experience for many households. Her presence in the house is in itself a unique arrangement, where a "stranger" is brought into the home to live and work for the well-being of the family.

In this regard, it is important to get to know one another at the outset to break down potential barriers and incompatibility that may be the result of different cultural and family backgrounds.

Building a healthy and successful working relationship requires both parties to actively engage one another.

Creating a safe and cordial working environment based on mutual care and respect is one key consideration.

A working relationship based on inflexible rules and regulations, and unreasonable demands and expectations bring rigidity, and stifle work creativity. This results in a lose-lose situation.

A successful and effective integration process begins with the employer.

In helping the FDW to integrate with the family, the employer needs to take on the role of a coach and mentor. It takes time, effort and lots of patience on the part of both the employer and FDW. But the outcome can be satisfying.

Employers should seriously consider enrolling in employer-employee enrichment programmes.

They should also enrol their FDW in integration programmes run by social service agencies like the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast) to help the new FDW adjust and be assimilated into her new environment.

Seah Seng Choon

President

Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training