Do You Employ Family and Friends?

February 27, 2012 by  Filed under: Management 

Business owners employ family and friends because it is quick and easy to do. They know the person so expect they can work with them without any problems. Then the issues start to arrive, familiarity means the business owner finds it harder to discipline them when they are not happy with their work. They generally let issues slide because they don’t want to confront their friend or family member, whilst, in the mean time the issues grow and so does the resentment.

One rule of employing people is that they must be better than you at carrying out the role they are employed for. When you just go and employ a friend or family member it is generally done without comparing them with other applicants, so you don’t have the opportunity to see if they are the best available in the market place.

From observation over the years, another benefit of employing family and friends is that they are generally paid a lower rate. But that’s where the old saying “Pay peanuts, get monkeys” comes from. In can also lead to issues down the track if there are disputes and the government employment bodies are brought into the dispute.

There are a few rules you should follow when considering employing family or friends in your business.

1. If a position needs to be filled, advertise the role, make sure the best potential applicant has a chance to see it.

2. If you have a family or friend that you could employ, interview them along with other applicants. If they come out best in the interview, then they could be employed.

3. Do not employ a family member or friend if you have not compared them against other applicants.

4. Provide clear guidelines on the employer/friend relationship. i.e. Work stays at work, social life stays with social life.

5. If there is a problem with their work, deal with it immediately. Don’t wait, the issue will magnify itself and become significantly worse and harder to deal with.

6. If their position needs to be terminated, terminate it. Don’t procrastinate, it only creates more problems.

Over the years, I have noticed businesses that rarely, if not at all, employ family and friends are significantly more successful than businesses that regularly employ family and friends. Your aim should be to provide the best services available in your industry. Employing family and friends rarely achieves this.

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