Ongoing and honest communication is crucial to having a successful KPS/family relationship. A big part of that communication puzzle is giving your KPS feedback on their performance. Letting them know all the ways they are doing a great job is the easy part. Showing your appreciation for their hard work and devotion is the feel good part of giving feedback. However, they also need to hear about the things you’d like them to do differently.
This is a much harder conversation to have.
KPS employers often don’t want to provide any kind of negative feedback because they feel it will damage their working relationship with their KPS. However, when a parent strongly feels the KPS should make a change or adjustment to how they do something – for instance driving defensively, texting on the job or sewing name tags more neatly, it’s important to address it. Sweeping those kinds of things under the rug will only result in a build-up of anger and frustration. Over time those feelings will damage the employment relationship – the very thing the parent was trying to avoid doing in the first place. There are some things to keep in mind when providing feedback to your KPS.
Decide if the issue is worth talking about
There is not a KPS in the world who does everything right. Even the most beloved KPS does things that annoy their employer. So before you decide to talk with your KPS about an issue, decide how important it is to you. Is it a reasonable request? Is it likely the KPS will be able to meet your expectations? How will it affect the KPS/family relationship if the issue isn’t corrected?
As in parenting, you have to pick your battles. There will be plenty of legitimate issues that come up between you and your KPS that will need to be addressed. Some issues, once you look at them more closely, are just pet hates and personal preferences that don’t have a real impact on the quality of your KPS’s work. Those types of issues are often better left unaddressed. Of course, if it’s an issue that you simply can’t let go of, even if it’s just a small one, you should address it. Make sure that when you present it to your KPS, you let them know that you recognise it’s a small issue, but that it’s one that still bothers you.
Acknowledgement goes a long way in this type of difficult conversation.
Give positive feedback along with negative feedback
No matter what the issue is, you can always find something good to say related to it. If your KPS is texting too much on the job, you could let them know that you love the fact that they have a strong support system, however, you’re concerned with the time they are spending texting during work hours. If she’s not meeting your standards for organising the kids’ room or laundry, you could let them know that you appreciate all the time and effort they put into it; however, you’d like to talk about different ways of doing it so that it works for both of you. It’s always easier to hear a negative when it’s balanced with something positive.
Encourage your KPS to share them thoughts and feelings too
Rather than having a one-sided conversation where you and your KPS feel you are criticising, create an atmosphere that encourages an honest exchange. Ask your KPS how she feels about what you’ve said. Give them the opportunity to share their perspective on the issue and listen with an open mind. Work together so that you are able to find solutions that work for both of you. Keeping the conversation friendly and supportive will strengthen your relationship with your KPS and raise the odds of a good resolution to the problem.
Having the first conversation and developing a plan of action for the future is just the first step in giving feedback. Set a time to come back together with your KPS and talk about how things are progressing. Review what you both agreed to, offer your ideas about the progress she’s made and ask for their input. Understand that it may take a few conversations before the KPS has made the changes you want. Make sure to acknowledge their effort and work with them to get to a place where you’re both happy with their performance.
Offering your KPS regular and honest feedback will help keep your employment relationship on track and will ensure the KPS continues to be successful in your position.