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?
Set the terms from the beginning, be straight and clear and make sure you both understand each other's needs. Once the rules are set, just stick to them. I hire my sister from time to time, when I'm overloaded. I trust her as much as I would never trust somebody else. I always pay her on time and I haven't had any issues with her so far. Hope never will :) If you're not 100% sure everything'll be fine, my guess is that you shouldn't risk your relationship. Maybe you could start with a trial period before you promise anything for the long run.
IT can be both highly rewarding and highly risky. Examining the persons previous record is a must to ensure that complications do not arise later on.
Hi Carrie. In my opinion, if you feel nervous about it, it's probably for a good reason, and I think we all should follow our instinct when doing business. If you feel there is potential for let's say negative impact on the business and/or draining fights over stuff, then you might want to help her get a job that's not within your company. You are still helping her, while keeping yourself safe. That being said, I understand you want to help your sister, so if this is what you choose to do in the end, I strongly recommend writing a solid contract, with clear outlines on the type of work that needs to be done by each parties involved, and a clear timeline/deadline overview. The better you prepare this contract, making sure everybody understands the responsibilities that come with signing it, the less likely you'll have to deal with any unwanted impact on your relationship. Best of luck!
Hi Carrie. Ask yourself a few questions...If you are paying your sister for work and you are not happy with her work, what will you do and say and what are the likely outcomes of any possible conflict?
What if your sister is late delivering some work? Will you just let it slide as she's your sister - her late delivery could have an impact on your business.
My advice would be to think over these and many other possible problems that could arise. If you believe that your relationship is strong enough to survive them, then give it a try. If you are in any doubt however, don't do it. From my own personal experience working with family and friends rarely has a positive outcome.
As long as you can define your sister as an employee and not pray to nepotism or favoritism, you're fine. The same goes with working with your boyfriend or husband, or even your best friend. They're are plenty of well oiled machines out there that are run by families, but the personal issues do tend to get in the way. If you can organize your sisters schedule and treat her as a co-worker then awesome. If you guys have an issues what-so-ever then don't do it because family drama is not needed at the work place. Remain professional at all times and you're good. The same goes for her. I myself know of many family run institutions that run perfectly fine. On the other hand, the minute your sister tries to take advantage because your family, or if you let her say come in late because she's your sister, then theres a problem. Do some serous evaluation of your relationship with your sister and then make your best professional decision.
In most of the cases is not a good idea to hire family members or friends in your company. However do not take this as a hard rule, successful examples of families building healthy companies do exist.
The major pitfalls of hiring a relative or friend are:
1. Team animosity - other people in the company may feel that you favor your relative over them in terms of decision making, promoting or wage. To mitigate this risk you may or should:
a. Be very transparent with your relationship and do not let anything be interpreted the wrong way.
b. Do not put your relative or friend directly under your command, place them in a different team under a team leader.
2. Team rejection - the people in the company may not accept your relatives as members of the team, even though not directly. They will avoid them out of fear that your relative may "spy" for you.
3. As a direct result of the previous two: Harsh treatment - You may be inclined to treat your relatives more strict, hoping to avoid the previous two situation. This will definitely damage your relationship with your relative. Don't do that. Treat them fairly.
4. Opposite to point three: Too kind - You may find it difficult to manage the relationship with those relatives, especially when they screw up. People in the company will notice that weakness and will react as in point 1 above. Again, be fair. If they screw up apply the same treatment you do for any other team member and let everybody know that. If you need to, fire them.
Most important of all: set up goals and expectations from the very beginning. Let them know that business is business and personal is personal. If you find yourself in the situation to fire them, you'll do it. It is delicate, difficult but can be done.
One more thing. Don't hire out of mercy, hire because those relatives or friends can add value to the company.
I am always reluctant to hire either family or friends unless the roles and boundaries are clearly outlined. Your family member should know exactly what is expected of them and must agree to those conditions. If not you can run in to issues and that can impact your relationship.
You need to assess your strengths and weaknesses and your sisters strengths and weaknesses and make sure the TRUST BOND is established firm and the communication lines stay open no matter what might happen...You have to be firm on expectations and make sure your sister understands your expectations, and you her's and put her through a trial period as you would do with anyone else...I find if the TRUST is good it is great arrangement, family members look out for each other if TRUST is basis of the relationship...Think Jack Kennedy and Booby Kennedy---
It okay but let them know up front that they will be treated like any other employee. Don't play favorites. If they are not following the rules, they should be dealt with like an ordinary employee.
I might have a decent solution for you which will be at the bottom of my post.
The disadvantage of hiring family is if they don't work out it is natural to hesitate to get rid of them since it might affect the family relationship.
The advantage of hiring a family member is that they often can be far more involved more loyal and a greater benefit than an outsider.
I am not one who has any right to say don't hire family. My son has been working in my business for 14 year, my daughter for 10 years, my wife for 3 years and my son recently married a gal in the Philippines and our plan is to bring her into the business when she arrives. We all get along great. It is really nice working with them and my daughter and wife were instrumental in taking the business from losing a couple hundred grand to making more than twice that. For me having family in the business has been wonderful.
How about this for an idea. Hire her on a part time as needed, when needed basis. If she works out increase her hours and you will be in good shape. If she doesn't decrease her hours until she basically isn't there and there won't be an hard feelings. She will just think the need wasn't there and your family relationship will stay pretty much intact.
The short answer is: That depends on the family.
You have examples of both the positive and negative of hiring family.
I have front row seats to a family business. First you hire on skills. Then willingness and capability to learn. Then consider personality traits, in particular conscientiousness. Being a family member may cloud your judgement in her capabilities and the strength of your relationship.
The answer is context sensitive and the answer to your specific question is in how you assess the business and personal downside risk if it does not work out.
Very interesting comments here...what I would like to add is that DO NOT hire your sister because you want to help her, sometimes it becomes very sour at the end. If you see that she is excellent and looking at what she has done before and references from her previous employer you can hire her. You need to follow the same recruitment process that other companies are doing to recruit a new employee. Don't be involved when they do interviews, invite other people to conduct the interviews - it must be strictly professional and ask for their opinion if she will be a perfect candidate after the recruitment process has been done. You have to let her know first the process that you will follow in order for both of you to benefit. Transparency and trust from the beginning always bring lasting relationships whether its a family member or a stranger. The important thing is to hire the SKILL and PASSION for the job...hope this helps...
I would love to have family more involved in any of my activity. I understand the risks, but the rewards are priceless.
Make sure your sister has the skills necessary to get the job done. Also does she have a good work ethic. Just because she is family and has your back, doesn't mean she is a good worker. How has her prior work performance been. I would make it a formal contract and make sure she knows what is expected of her upfront so that way if she doesn't perform to standards she knows that it is on her, not you why her services are no longer needed. I've family working for family work out. But then I have seen where the family member working is taking advantage and just looking for an easy buck. Also look at the relationship you already have with your sister, are you two the type that can have a fight and be OK the next day? Or are you two the type that if you have a fight you sit and stew for a few months. If you are the later, I probably wouldn't risk it.
Having worked for two family firms, one small, the other progressing to AIM quotation, and then back to a ordinary Limited Company, I have seen both extremes.
Some tight knit family firms can be a problem, particularly if there are "squabbles" about the direction in which the firm is going. My former Financial Controller and I were often present at Board meetings. The Directors consisted of two brothers. and their father. One of the Company's directors was a Batchelor of Law and had his feet firmly planted on the ground. Both father (Chairman) and brother (Managing Director) were both Salesmen and very pushy, to the point where they nearly broke the company by what is know in business as "over-trading".
Regrettably the Financial Controller and I (both non-family) were the meat in the sandwich (so to speak), and the arguments could get very heated, particulary the elder brother who was the Batchelor of Law and could see the legal implications of what could happen if his brother and father got their own way, i.e. expansion at any cost. At the same time my Financial Controller and I were trying to be neutral by not taking sides, equally having to explain to both sides the implications of their proposals. Some very uncomfortable moments, and as I say, nearly broke the company.
One of the saving graces in this instance was that they were opposite ends of the building and one often in a sister officein London so they did not cross eachothers' paths that often. Equally they lived, over 30 miles apart from eachother and had different social agendas. However month end meetings and AGMs could get very frustrating for the Financial Controller and I as we had to be seen not to be taking sides. In fact we sometimes felt we the Marriage Guidance Council !
So yes, family firms can be very strong and successful, but equally can end up killing the firm by not allowing others in to the circle so to speak and therefore unreceptive to new or alternative ideas.
Hiring family is fine, But--But, one also has to be careful about nepotism. After all, I once worked as a cleaning service where the owner and manager hired her older sister to be the supervisor--who was basically a 'Holy Ghost Filled Bully' . I don't remember what was worst her constant 'discernment' that so many were 'Witches' and 'Warlocks' or that 'she was the Caucasianness Of God' or the economic fact to disagree with her--she had the power to send us home without pay for which her sister always sided with her. She even got away with giving the hardest job as a punishment to an employee who was diabetic--for which her sister and brother-in-law, the true owners went out of their way to prevent him from collecting workman's comp--With an Amen and Glory Hallelujah --since both sisters were always saying what kind of 'Born-Again Christians' they were.
Typically, hiring family members on a full time basis is not a good idea. However, if you can work out a part-time arrangement with specific project guidelines that could work.
This is interesting and timely as I've just finished interviewing a number of family businesses in the field of qualitative market research. for an article that I'm writing in our association's magazine. My interviewees reported great success (and joy!) in working with family members as long as...they had the skills to do the job, the responsibilities were clearly defined, and of course there was a basis of trust and respect. Family members need to be able to give and take honest feedback and also make time for non business family enjoyment. That said, it's not a good solution for everyone. Aside from skills there is personality, temperament, work style that have to be considered. For example what is the pace of work that is required? Consider the family member's organizational skills, self-motivation/self discipline, a perfectionist or not? and is that required to perform the job?