Ask yourself this question: “Would you consider hiring a less-than-competent non-family member to fill a key slot in your family business?” Of course the answer is an emphatic, “No!” It must also be the same for a family member.
Family members should be required to work for a company not associated with the family business, and to gain experience and be successful in that position, before being hired into the family business. A family member who cannot prove his or her value in another business will not do well in the family business, and ultimately will be a problem. Working in another business is analogous to a “proving ground.”
Family members working in the family business must show up, produce and perform to the same standards as non-family employees. This will help them to build credibility within the business. In some family businesses, family members get lax and think that they can set their own work schedule, take long lunches and assume other privileges simply because they are family. This kind of attitude becomes an accident waiting to happen.
The time to prepare a family employment policy comes long before you need it. Regardless of the current age of your children, do it now!
Family members should know well in advance that there is a family employment policy in place for the business. Discussions about working in the business can begin as casual conversations when children are young. The worst time for these discussions is when a family member says they are looking for a job and would like to work in the family business. Having the policy in place long before you need one contributes to the growth of the business.
Check back soon for posts on what a family employment policy should include.
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