What do people think about hiring family?
I need some help with marketing, social media and managing trunk shows. My sister is a stay-at-home mom and has been wanting to pick up some part time work. I think this could be a great arrangement, but I am nervous about hiring a family member. If it doesn't work out, I don't want it to impact our relationship. Does anyone have thoughts on whether this is a good idea and if so, how to avoid potential pitfalls?
If it would have negative impact maybe wasn't so close at the beginning. Whatever happens if it's family will be good afterall so go for it!
Begin by setting strict ground rules and boundaries and relax these once you have confidence in the arrangement. Discuss your concerns upfront and ensure that you hear and listen to your sister's concerns and wishes. Ensure that quality work standards are agreed to and track these as you would with any other member of your work team. Good-luck
I believe it depends on personalities. If the environment can be kept professional on work issues, then it might work. (i.e. clear boundaries between the family relationship and work relationship). A written agreement with expected duties, job description would assist to seal the professionalism expected.
One caution: if a hired relative doesn't benefit the business, you will have to fire them. Are you and she able to deal with this, should it arise?
It depends on your ability to manage. Clear instruction and expectations. The ability to fire if you have too. It also depends on her skills to carry out the job. If she can't or you can't don't start. Remember, if you do hire her and she is failing at the job, she probably wants out as much as you want to get her out. The rewards if it works are worth it.
This is an excerpt from my article on LinkedIn of the 5 common mistakes small business owners make. Number 2 is about hiring family members.
2. Treating Family Employees like Family
Many small business owners not only have a dream of owning a business but the dream of creating a family business where their nearest and dearest can share in the joy of working for everyone’s good. Or else they just want cheap labor with partners and children expected to fit the bill.
This is all well and fine as long as family employees are treated like any other employee. Which means they are expected to work under the same conditions, get paid the same as non family employees, have the same expectations placed on them and given the same responsibilities.
Here are a few of the things that are bad business practice with family employees:
Under or over paying. Under pay your relatives and they will resent you. Overpay them and they will happily drain your profits while getting unrealistic expectations what their work is really worth while creating resentment in other employees who know they are being paid less for doing the same job. This is also going to hurt if you ever want to get rid of them…as employees, not family members.
Expecting more work from family than anyone else in the business. Again, they will resent you and wonder why you treat them so unfairly. On the other hand, if they work less for the same pay, your other employees are going to resent you and mutter about family and the boss. Resentment in the work place results in poor employee behavior that can harm a small business in a variety of ways. All of which affect your profit margins.
Treating your family employees at work like you do at home. Keep home problems at home and deal with them there, not on the shop floor. When problems arise, remember you are dealing with a work problem, not a family problem. Use all the issue resolution techniques businesses use with employees. Make sure you don’t humiliate or berate your family in the middle of the business. It won’t endear your customers to you. It won’t bring you the respect of your other employees. And it certainly won’t help your partner or child learn how to deal effectively with work issues (I doubt it will help with home issues either). Remember you hired them and as their employer you have an obligation to treat them fairly…just like any other employee.
Imbalances in how people are treated, especially if you are related, cause frictions, unhappiness, resentment, lost productivity and poor employee behavior that will affect all levels of your business. You won’t get the best out of anyone, family or non family. In the end, your bottom line will suffer even if your family life doesn't.
As others have said having clear defined roles, expectations, payment, etc in writing is key. Without it, you'll be setting yourself and your sister up for disappointment and disagreements, neither of which you want for your business, but more importantly for your family.