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Motivating home help

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Caroline Mboijana, Managing Director, The Leadership Team (U). 

Dear Caroline, My family recently hired a medically-trained home carer to look after my elderly parents. Initially, the cost seemed affordable given the quality support we were receiving and to be honest, the carer is good. In recent months, he has asked for a pay rise, and I am trying to find ways to meet his expectations; however, his ask is quite high. Do you have any ideas that I can introduce to retain him while not breaking the bank?


Hello Joseph, The role of a home carer is crucial, especially when it comes to our loved ones. They provide invaluable  care and support. It is important to consider their needs and well-being, just as we would for our employees in the workplace. In fact, some argue that they should be looked after even more, given the personal nature of their work. This perspective might help in finding a solution to your situation.

First of all, it is important to understand what has triggered the ask for more money. The trigger may be work-related, or he may have some family challenges that he is going through. This then ascertains whether it is a short-term issue or long-term. The next step is to hear from him how he quantified the question – how did he come up with the figure that he presented to you? This information will help you think through your response.

I suspect that since he is a live-in carer, you have taken care of the basics (accommodation, food, bills, etc). It is important that you recognise this – if he were not with you, then this would be a cost he would incur.  Having done that, we can now consider other aspects. I assume that he gets days off in the week or regularly, so he rests (read that as annual leave). You could possibly consider things such as a 13th cheque at the end of every year, this would certainly go a long way to managing his end-of-year expenses. Another option is to take care of him when he is sick. Insurance companies now have innovative products and solutions that are very affordable, and having access to medical when ill would have a significant psychological impact on his wellbeing. While these are options, it is important that you too do the numbers so that if and when you choose them, you can also show what they mean on a monthly basis. Showing the benefits as monthly figures is the key.

While the above speak to retention, it is also important to educate him – like we do in the workplace, more money is short-lived and will address any demands that you have now, but it is about the long term. You need to speak to him about his own goals, so you can check whether you, too, can plug in.

In the same way we talk about motivation and engagement in the workplace, the same is applicable in our homes. The solutions are different but the end goal is the same.

Good luck.

Caroline Mboijana,

Managing Director, The Leadership Team (U)  caroline.