When you’re the owner of a small start-up, finding the right founding team that can help you to bring your venture to the next step is a very important task. Many entrepreneurs, due to problems with funding or resources, have decided to take in their family members as their employees instead of going the traditional way of employing strangers.
This idea may seem risky to many people, and not a lot of people will recommend it. To me, everything has its pros and cons. The biggest advantage you can get from employing your family members is that you already know them, which makes it easier to decide whether you can trust & count on them or not. Moreover, personality clash is less likely to happen because you get to employ the people you know you actually like.
These people are invested in your happiness and success so it will be easier for you to ask them to go the extra mile for you like working long or odd hours, or taking less pay in troubling periods, which happens so often in the start-up world. You can also benefit from tax breaks and perks like health insurance or vacations when working with family members.
It’s all sound fantastic so far, so what are the downsides that make people stay away from this practice? First of all, it can get messy due to emotions. Emotions will always be involved when you work with your family, no matter how hard you try. People will get upset and take things personally just because you have a personal relationship with them, which is bad for business. Plus, your family members know that they are different from your everyday employee; thus, their working expectations & actions will be affected by this mindset.
Furthermore, if you have troubles with them at work, you will have troubles with them at home too, and vice versa. There is a higher chance that your business matters, even the ones that should be kept strictly inside the business, might get spilled everywhere during family events. If you also employ other people to work for your business, there will be perceived favouritism & nepotism.
So how can you maximise the positives & minimise the negatives of this practice? Some questions you should ponder are:
- Is he or she qualified for the job?
- Do they possess real skills and expertise required by my venture?
- Am I hiring this person for the right reasons?
- Do they share the same work ethics as I – the entrepreneur – do?
- Do they fit with the overall culture and environment of the business?
- Can he or she be trusted?
- Will I be able to fire them if necessary?
When you are an entrepreneur, you must remember that all relationships are business-oriented, and must be stated clearly in contractual terms. Never hire someone for personal reasons. If you employ your family members, treat them like any other employee, and be clear about that with them. This will save you a lot of unnecessary problems and maintain a great professional relationship with that family member.
Need help building an extraordinary team to support you and your business? Contact Maverick Mentoring for Business for a free one-on-one consultation. It would be our pleasure to help you to achieve your goals and be successful.