Should you work with family and friends?

By  Stephanie Oakley
Category: Business

One place small business employers often fail to search for new job applicants is the families and friends of their best employees. However, before rushing headlong into hiring family or friends, consider the people and all areas of business that will be affected.

Hiring friends and relatives can be a balancing act. If not handled well, it can sour the working environment. On the other hand hiring friends and family can have great benefits too, as long as you proceed carefully and consider these following points:


Business is not a charity

Don’t hire an employee’s relative just because they ‘need’ a job. If someone has trouble holding down a job, you don’t want them either. Make it clear that if the relative or friend doesn’t perform as expected, he or she will have to go. Hire on a probationary basis, establishing a two-week or month-long period to see how things work out.

thinking of working with family and friends

Hire for the right reasons

People rarely see their own relatives clearly and are therefore likely to make general and positive statements that don’t tell you if they have relevant work experience or training, rather than analysing their capabilities. With this in mind, ask specific, detailed questions about their qualifications before you agree to interview them.


Be aware of spouses

Spouses or domestic partners working together can present a number of difficulties. There are logistical issues that can arise, such as holidays or family emergencies, which could leave you doubly short-handed. There are behavioural issues to consider as well, a terrific, eager worker may change dramatically with a spouse around. The dynamics of a couple’s relationship is stronger and usually more emotive than an employer/employee  relationship.


Never play favourites

Be toughest on your own relatives. Before you hire a relative, make it clear to them that they are going to have to prove themselves, and they will be held to the highest standards. Make sure all the rules apply to all employees. Everyone has to be qualified and do their jobs well, otherwise, they’re not hired.

We hope this offers you a few points to consider if you are looking at hiring family or friends into your business.


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