Help Family Member Employees Find Their Place

Running a family business can be rewarding all around, but you must balance personal commitment to relatives with the company's needs. Otherwise, you run the risk of damaging the bottom line and staff morale.

You might feel pressured by blood ties to hire family members and, in some instances, they may be a good fit. In a best case scenario, the relative handles assignments and responsibilities flawlessly.

But what happens if you hire a relative who doesn't have the skills the company needs? Or perhaps a relative loafs on the job or feels entitled to special privileges? Although these situations aren't good for business and can demoralize the rest of your staff, family ties may keep you from firing the culprit.

Here are a few steps you can take to help turn things around:

The key is to transform an unenthusiastic or minimally skilled relative into a productive employee as quickly as possible. The sooner this is accomplished, the less likely you are to lose key employees and managers.

Nevertheless, you may still be plagued by a sense of nepotism among your non-family staff members. These employees are likely to leave if most promotions go to relatives. If you're experiencing high turnover, exit interviews can help determine whether the root cause is a real or perceived feeling that your company's policies differ for relatives and outsiders.

A non-family member may never rise to the highest ranks in the company, but you can structure career paths that are attractive to outsiders and provide your business with the top-level staff you need.

Here are a few more proactive suggestions:

Surveys have shown that compensation isn't always the biggest issue when employees quit. In some cases, staff members may place a higher value on opportunities for advancement, contributing new ideas, being involved in management decisions, and seeing consistency in the handling of those decisions.

If you keep these ideas in mind, you'll increase the chances that both family and non-family staff will stay content and productive, leading to continued success for your business.

A Feasible Plan

The Small Business Administration has offered these tips to keep a family business running smoothly:

These behaviors can help avoid strained personal relationships and send a message to all employees that, in the workplace, business comes first.

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