Hiring the right employees is key to running a successful company, but finding them and retaining them isn’t always easy. As a small business owner, you’ll probably consider hiring a family member to work for you at some point. Maybe you need an extra set of hands on short notice. Maybe they really need a job. Either way, enlisting the help of family members can seem like a win-win.
It’s hard enough to be a small business owner, but adding in the element of family can lead to awkward situations and hurt relationships if you’re not careful. Here are the top considerations to help you make the best choice.
Finding the Right Fit
In reality, your family members will usually come to you looking for a job, rather than the opposite. The process of finding, applying and interviewing is not exactly fun for most people. As a result, your relatives may not necessarily be looking for your type of work – just any type of work that isn’t more job-hunting.
As a business owner, you need to resist the temptation to hire family without putting considerable thought into it. You must evaluate how the decision will fit into your overall business plan. Finding the right person for the job is even more critical in a small business. Some points to consider before bringing a relative into the fold include:
- What is the skill set needed for the position?
- Does the person have a good work ethic?
- What is the experience required to perform the role successfully?
- Does the pay scale match the expectation of the potential hire?
- What is the potential long-term effect on the family relationship?
The Benefits of Hiring Family
The most obvious benefit of hiring a family member is that you already have a good idea of their strengths before they even start working. Knowing them as well as you do makes it easier to determine how their skill set is best used to the advantage of your business. Having an established relationship leads to a high level of trust, which can be an excellent investment for the success of your business.
Another benefit is the ability to hire them informally. For example, if an employee calls in sick and you find yourself short-staffed, calling on a relative to help you out for the day is a quick-fix. Or, if a nephew is looking to make some extra cash, you could easily hire him to cover a busy shift or seasonal position.
The Downside of Working with Relatives
With those clear advantages, it’s hard to see how hiring family could go wrong. But hiring someone you have a close personal relationship with comes with a fair number of risks. Here are the top three you should keep in mind.
1. Negative Work Environment
In the business realm, while there are no laws against nepotism in a private business, hiring relatives can cause other employees to think you’re giving preferential treatment to family and lead to a poor-quality work environment.
2. Lack of Respect
It’s also possible a family member won’t take you seriously as a boss. In that case, they may undermine your authority, and your other employees may lose their ability to see you as the person in charge.
3. Damaging the Family Bond
Perhaps the most serious downside of hiring family is the potential damage to the personal relationship that can last long after employment. Firing someone is never an easy task, and it’s even more uncomfortable when you have cause to fire a family member.
The Final Decision
Bringing relatives on board to work in your business can lead to uncomfortable situations, complicated relationships, and compensation issues. And what about finding coverage for those family issues that require time off?
Certainly, hiring family is not for the faint of heart. Though it would seem like an ideal situation, make sure they’re trustworthy and qualified for the job. It won’t do you or your business any good to give a job to someone who just can’t do it. Keeping these considerations in mind before hiring a loved one will help you avoid unnecessary problems. And if you decide to hire them, you’ll benefit from these suggestions to develop an excellent working relationship with your family member.