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?
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!
As someone who has consulted for entrepreneurs with family members as partners, I offer this. If you're a small operation be sure to have clear defined roles, expectations and boundaries as to involvement, duties and most importantly a mutually agreeable compensation arrangement. Remember, you will ride the thin line of boss one minute and sister the next. It could be exponentially unfortunate for you both not to recognize this.
The good news is no one has your back more than family. If your share like ideas and intentions for the company then obviously 2 can accomplish more than one if focused on a common goal. The list is long of successful sibling teams
Gregory has the most valid advice here. I suggest if you do hire your sister it is with a very defined role including hours she works, where she works and compensation (of course the work requirements as well).
Compensation is startup pay and I would give the position a defined length of time. This way if she is underperforming you are not bitter or stuck. She gets the benefit of getting work back onto her resume which has value for a mom getting back into the work force.
Dont be to afraid, but do talk about all the outcomes in advance. Remember, she might feel you are the problem not her.
Hi Carrie, I agree with Gregory. To avoid any pitfalls, treat the hiring process as you would for an outsider. Interview your sister-in-law as well as others outside the family. Pick the best candidate. If this happens to be your sister-in-law, great. This way she will know her duties and pay scale and you will know by the formal interview process that she has the skill set and same goals you have. This is strictly a business decision you are making rather than a family decision.
I love to help people and family even more so. I've had two bad experiences helping family though that haven't ended well. I'd recommend not engaging your sister's services. I can't think of any choices I made that could help you avoid any problems. I believe there isn't anything except the obvious (treating the relationship professionally with a scope agreement and contract) to watch out for.
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.
If you're hiring your family member:
1. Clearly define roles and responsibilities.
2. Make sure you are both clear of what you expect from each other.
3. Have an open and candid conversation about worst-case scenarios.
4. Capture the above in writing.
Before you hire a family member, ask yourself two questions:
-Would you be able to fire them?
-If you put the job out to competitive tender, would they be the winning candidate?
If you've done 1-4 and answer the affirmative to the above questions, you'll avoid most pitfalls.
This situation can be tricky because let's face it, who wants to fire their mom. Having family members work for you and forgetting they are working for you can be the biggest problem. The most common thing I hear is "business partner" when I see one person carrying the business while their family member is literally tearing down what you built before you realize it. Having a family member forget that in employment situation you are the boss can be a sticky situation.
It doesn't matter who you are hiring, there always pros and cons in any situation.
Usually I will look at the skill sets requirements of the organization as a whole. From there I will do a fitting process on my family (in this case), if in the even it turns out to be good, just hire her.
Please consider her Pros and Cons + can you handle the emotion portion of the issue. The greatest asset we can get from family is the utmost support physically and morally. The nightmare actually come from the greatest pros - utmost support turns to obsessed support acting wrongly at different roles.
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.
My favorite answer to this question is, if you can't fire family then don't hire family.
All the advice in the world will come down to that.
Be careful. It must be understood that business is business. Pleasure is pleasure. Once you leave the workplace, do not discuss work when you outside of work. This is not an easy arrangement.. Unless everybody obeys the rules, it will never work out.
It she's good and can deliver what she says she can there's no better arrangement. You can't buy that kind of trust and loyalty. Let her know upfront that if this is not the case you'll need to protect the company and go in a different direction. If she's a professional she'll respect that.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
I see hiring family as a Bad idea!
I closed a large contract with IBM. I asked my (then) wife to take a leave of absence and help my consulting business. After she went back to her regular job I separately asked my two best team members what they thought of the experience. Each said that they did not like it. They felt it was difficult to sort out the personal versus professional aspects of the relationships. So, I would not do it again, even though I felt that my wife was a much better contributor than someone I could have found quickly.
You need to think of your long term relationships with your other staff.
Separately, how will you objectively discuss with an employee their performance if they are a family member?