When you own your own business, control is everything. Every deal, every development, and certainly every employee needs to be up to your standards. for this very reason, hiring a family member can be very intriguing. You may know them more intimately than the average applicant, you likely have a close relationship with them, and they may have an emotional interest in the success of your business to motivate good work.
At the same time, there can be significant drawbacks to hiring a family member. Working with family is, in a word, awkward at times. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons so you can decide whether or not you should hire a family member.
A Word of Caution
Before considering hiring a family member, there are some key things you should mull over. If you have other employees, you’ll want to be sure you’re ready to treat your relative as just another member of the crew. This certainly doesn’t mean you have to throw away your relationship with them, but you need to be ready to set some boundaries. If you’ve ever played on a sports team coached by one of your teammate’s parents, you’ve possibly felt or seen the resentment that can come about when someone receives preferential treatment.
A working relationship means you also need to be prepared to correct that relative if necessary. This could mean some stern conversations and pointing out mistakes. If this seems like too much of a stretch for you, maybe it’s not a great idea. If it doesn’t seem like an issue, forge ahead.
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As mentioned above, hiring and subsequently working with a family member could cause a major strain on your relationship. It’s easy for anyone to say that work won’t impact their relationship with family, but you’ll need to use your discretion and understanding of that family member to truly know if you and your relative can handle it.
It’s easy to take emotion out of the equation with other employees and to keep it “strictly business.” With a family member, though, there is almost always emotion involved. That can skew your decision making, the way you handle conflict in the workplace, and how you correct when necessary.
Anytime you work in a supervisor role over a family member, accusations of nepotism are almost inevitable. If anyone perceives even the slightest bit of favoritism in the workplace, you’ll hear it or, perhaps worse, you won’t hear it right away.
Essentially, in the perfect storm, hiring a relative could have you walking on eggshells in the workplace and bring a new element of drama to family relationships after hours.
While there are certainly potential drawbacks to hiring a family member, there are plenty of positives that can come about as well. The most obvious is the opportunity to hire someone you trust and is invested in the success of your company. If the individual is an immediate family member, like a spouse or child, they understand the very direct results of the success of the company in their life and yours.
We all get to know our coworkers well, we spend plenty of time around them during the week. As such, working with a family member could be a way to get to know them better or in a different light. Obviously this needs to be done with a heavy dose of caution, as too much emotion can cause issues in the workplace and perhaps even at home.
If you’re considering hiring a family member, don’t take the decision lightly. Taking the time to think it out and do it right can pay dividends on multiple fronts.
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