June 3, 2020

Working with Friends and Family

Your priority as a business owner should always be to hire the best person for the job. There are times when this person is luckily right in front of you in the shape of your friend and family. But, the question arises whether you should hire them or not.

Wouldn’t it make things complicated? What if something goes wrong and the relationship turns sour? Will you be able to fire him or her if the need arises?

Well, the situation is certainly tricky, and with its own set of rules, advantages, and disadvantages. Read on as we discuss the intricacies in more detail below.

Working with Friends and Family: The Pros

When you hire somebody you know, you‘re going to be better acquainted with their thought process, strengths, weaknesses, and temperament. This means that you can trust them better as opposed to someone who is a complete stranger. After all, there has to be a reason family business is still thriving!

Let’s take a look at the advantages:

Higher trust levels

You need to trust your employees because if you don’t, your business will suffer.

Now, when you work with a stranger, it’s obvious that developing trust will take time. However, you can rely on your friends and family easily as there’s already a level of trust between you two.

Not only does this help save time, but you’ll be more at ease mentally. Knowing that there are people that have your back can be comforting. 

Better knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses

Picture this: you‘re interviewing a potential candidate for the job. You have to remember to ask all the right questions and stay on high alert to be able to deduce their strengths and weaknesses.

However, when you already know a person, you have an idea of what they bring to the table – their strengths and weaknesses.

For example, you‘ll know whether they are talkative, or have difficulty in being on time. All these characteristics will help you determine whether they’ll be a good fit for your company or not.

Champion your business

Experts have found out that companies who have loyal employees are more likely to achieve their goals. In other words, you need to look for people who actually care about your business’ success, and who can be better than your loved ones who would really want to see you succeed?

They will put in more effort and take initiative when needed to help your company thrive. 

Better dynamic

Working with your friends and family can be a more pleasant experience for you. There won’t be any awkwardness as won’t have to break the ice or worry about being someone getting hurt. You can be more vocal about your vision and expectations.

In fact, this goes both ways.

Even the other person will be more comfortable and be upfront about their idea, which can be beneficial for both of you.

Working with Your Friends and Family: The Cons

As always, no approach can be foolproof, and hence, hiring your friends and family does have its share of cons.

Let’s take a look at the disadvantages:

Awkward dynamics

Having your best friend when you go clubbing or for a movie can be great, but once you enter the office, you‘re going to be their boss – which means that when they aren’t performing well, you’ll need to reprimand them.

There’s always going to be pressure whenever you say anything negative to friends and family, especially when they aren’t helping the company grow. You might not want to hurt their feelings or create a conflict which might become a liability.

So, you must communicate properly and let everyone know about your expectations and business practices right from the beginning.

Combating pre-existing expectations

It’s natural for people to have certain expectations when they know somebody – this is something that can extend to the workplace as well.

For example, you might think that just because your sister is working for you, she should stay later than the rest and put in more work as you are her sibling. In the same way, your sister might think you shouldn’t have called out her mistake in front of the other employees to save her from embarrassment.

This is where you need to handle the situation tactfully. It’s important to set expectations on day one and keep your professional life separate from your friends and family.

The nepotism issue

Suppose you offer your nephew the job of a manager. Now, before you do so, you need to consider how your current employees will perceive the situation.

A few of your employees might be expecting a promotion, while some might view the recruitment of your nephew as nepotism. Whatever be the case, you need to have an intelligent approach as unhappy employees can be detrimental to your business.

Lack of fresh ideas

There’s always a risk of lack of diversity and fresh ideas for family businesses. When you hire people outside of your circle, you get a new outlook that can be innovative and give your business a new lease of life.

So, it would be better to ensure a healthy balance between friends and family and new people from outside your circle.

Takeaway thoughts

Hiring friends and family can certainly be a good decision as they can be more invested in your business. They might be willing to put in extra hours, work harder, and actually champion your company.

However, you need to remember to draw lines between family, friendship, and work. You need to communicate clearly, set boundaries, and be vocal about your expectations to ensure your business and personal relationships can thrive simultaneously.

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