In business, few things can be as stressful as running a business that is staffed and managed by a mix of family and non-family employees.
The constant juggling of family drama, emotions, and rights that conflict with the needs of your non-family workforce can quickly add up to an extremely unstable corporate culture.
Fortunately, these three factors will help you become an exception, if you aren’t already.
Make sure they’ve served their time
Many of our clients don’t realize the dangers of hiring a family member, especially in a critical role, until the damage has been done.
For example, one of our past clients had a problem with their son who worked for them. Though intelligent and talented, he posed a threat, instilled fear, and intimidated the other employees.
He was cancer in the organization and his mother cried when one of our advisors told her the truth.
Months later I received a call from the father explaining that they had let go of their son and their relationship and business had never been better.
When you employ your family members, those two worlds will come together at some point, and your non-family members will be in between.
The only way to avoid this is to ensure that the family members you are considering hiring or doing business with have at least three to five years of experience working for someone else in a similar role to the one you need .
While there, carefully consider how they contributed to that company, what skills they developed and acquired, what their attitude is like outside the office, and determine how they will positively or negatively impact your workforce.
Are they essentially the model employee with whom you feel comfortable representing you and your company?
By doing this you can have peace of mind knowing that when they eventually get into the herd they know what is expected of them and will deliver.
Hold family members accountable
In a family business, treatment towards family should be no different from the rest of your staff. They should have their own set of deliverables, expectations and operational roles and be held accountable.
As the owner, it’s up to you to hold them to higher standards than the rest of the business.
For example, your sibling arrived at the office later than they should. Your job is to discipline them like any other employee.
The fact that one of your employees is related to you does not give them an excuse to be lazy. There are NO HANDOUTS! When working with family members, you may take on the wrath of your staff, who see them as a favor rather than a valuable addition to the team.
In a situation where a family member isn’t keeping up with the pace or trying to get the best out of themselves, it’s up to you to make the decision to put someone more qualified in their role or not.
Terminating a family member is the most heartbreaking decision an entrepreneur can make, but it is also essential to ensure the health of your organization.
If you’re determined not to let your son or daughter go, but it’s clear the company is suffering, consider putting them on the payroll and letting them walk away. At the end of the day, it’s easier and cheaper than losing the business altogether.
Holding family accountable can help move the business forward and avoid family drama.
Plan your business exit strategy
If you’re like many business owners we’ve worked with before, you’re probably planning to one day transfer ownership to your children.
If you want to transfer control of the company to a family member, you should consider the procedures and steps that ensure a safe transfer.
This is called a succession plan and you need to be incredibly diligent about how the transfer of the business will go.
That means training, education and hands-on experience for the person who will ultimately run your business.
Remember, take charge
Unlike other small businesses, family businesses have their own unique challenges and obstacles.
The family business is a unique and challenging beast. However, with the right mindset and approach, it can be a hugely rewarding experience.
Remember to take charge and be the leader your business needs, not the parent your family sees at home. This means being organized, setting goals, and communicating with family members.
By taking control, you can ensure that your family business is successful and prosperous.