Think Twice Before Hiring Friends and Family

When I was new in business and started having employees, I didn’t give a lot of thought into my hiring decisions. Having a vacant position usually meant I had to do a lot of extra work, so I was always motivated to fill an opening as fast as I could.

If a person seemed intelligent and promised to show up to work on time, I would give them a chance, and this often included friends, customers, and family members.

As my experience grew, I realized hiring friends and family was not always the smartest decision. In fact, if you are planning on hiring friends and family, here are a few things I think you should consider.

Treat Them the Same as all Employees

Easier said than done! In theory this seems so logical, but in reality it can be very difficult to practice. Friends and family know you on a personal level, and although it may not be right, it is natural for them to ask you for special favors from time to time. As soon as you give into one, others will start to follow.

This makes it challenging to hold them accountable or enforce your normal company policies with them. As hard as you try, it may be difficult to treat them the same as you do your other employees.

Make Sure They are Really Qualified for the Position

Think about it. Are you just finding a body to fill an open position, or are you really trying to find the most skilled and qualified person available? If you think there are better trained, experienced, or qualified people out there then why settle for anything less, even if this is a family member? You, your current employees, and your business deserve better.

Use Position Agreements

A position agreement is something I believe should be in place with every employee, but especially if you are hiring friends or family. A position agreement is a document that clearly articulates the results the position is responsible for, the work that is to be performed, and any required standards for doing the work.

Position agreements remove any mystery or ambiguity about what is (and what is not) to be performed in the job position. It clearly sets the tone for how the job is to be performed and the expectations that are to be met.

Family run businesses, and hiring friends and family is never going to go away, but is this the best for your business? Having to let go a friend or family member because they are really not suited for a position is not a fun experience.

I have had sleepless nights and even lost friendships because a friend was not a good fit for a position, so hiring friends and family is something I no longer choose to do. However, If you are going to hire friends or family, I encourage you to take the extra time needed to carefully consider your decision, and to think twice before hiring friends and family.


Daryl Murrow

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