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Employing Your Family in a Business

By: Elaine Everest - Updated: 15 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Family Business Family Business Staff

Running a new business can be very daunting so to have a few family members as employees can make the whole experience less frightening to begin with. However, family members can sometimes cause problems when you work too closely with them and then what do you do?

Staff Rates

It can be very expensive to hire staff even more so when you have starting up costs to consider in a new business. Family members can come cheap in fact sometimes they will also be investors in your new venture. Parents can be called upon to man telephones, decorate office space and workshops and the one hundred and one other tasks that are necessary before you start trading. Retired members of your family can give invaluable advice from their many working years and they can also have contacts in business that will become useful to you during your start up phase.

Delegation, Delegation, Delegation

It can be hard telling your father what to do and on the other hand you don’t want your mother telling you off in front of important clients. Make sure that from day one your relatives know that in office hours you are the boss and that you should all avoid using family nicknames or terms of endearment. First names are better or if you are in a more formal situation resort to using surnames. When introducing staff and clients it may pay to point out that your secretary is your mother or that the warehouse manager is your sister to save any embarrassment at a later date.

Handing Out Contracts

Although some of your employees are your family you should still give them a proper contract and instruct them in all health and safety issues surrounding your business? Try to instill in your family that they must work the hours they are hired to cover and should not take longer lunch breaks or arrive late each morning. This can undermine any authority you have with other staff apart from affecting the smooth running of your business.

Firing Staff That Are Your Family

There may come a time when you are not happy with a family member within your business. You may find the time has come to dismiss them and this is where problems arise. Could you sack your brother or reprimand your cousin? If the answer is no then perhaps you should consider whether it is worth hiring family to begin with. You must still follow correct procedures when hiring and firing family members. Do not think you can sack them on the spot just because you are related to them. Regardless of who your staff are they must have official warnings and be given the chance of appeal.

Family Loyalty

Some families stick together through thick and thin what about yours? If you all meet for Christmas lunch or a family party will you be able to socialise with them without talking shop all evening? Can your family members keep secrets out of work or are they liable to tell the rest of the family about your problems, your contacts and your bank balance? These things should all be considered before you even contemplate hiring a family member.

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