Hiring Family Members: The Good, Bad, And Ugly

Hiring Family Members: The Good, Bad, And Ugly


Businesses driven by close family members typically revolve around long-term focus and dedication towards growth that are also important for financial stability in a highly tumultuous and unpredictable world economy. According to some trusted resources, the world’s top 750 family businesses had revenues accounting to $10.3 trillion in 2019 and employing around 33.6 million people. However, businesses that brand themselves as “family-owned” have often run into problems and become paralyzed by nepotism in the workplace.

Hiring family members can considerably improve your business when done using the right approach and guided by best workplace practices. Keep reading to learn more about the various pros and cons of hiring family members, and effective ways to hire family members to improve your business.

Table Of Contents:


Pros of Hiring Family Members

Hiring family members eliminates the necessity of background checks and screening programs such as workplace testing among employees and job applicants. The cost for going through all of these checking and screening processes can be financially exhausting and act heavy on resources.

The fact that you already know and have a relationship with them is an advantage. Your long-term relationship with a family member puts you in a good place to understand their strengths, areas of improvements, experiences, and skills. You already know or have an idea of how they would fit in with the rest of the team. As one business owner with experience in hiring family members has described, “Your entire familial relationship serves as a background check of sorts.”

Hiring family members is also rewarding since they know the ins and outs of your business because of their bond with you. They can align to your goals and vision more easily and effectively than other employees in your business. They continue your legacy even after you retire and decide to leave the business.

Cons of Hiring Family Members

Internal tension running in the family can become externalized and hurt your business. This can give rise to a hostile workplace environment. It is difficult to separate home and work boundaries when making employment decisions involving family members. The tension or problems can transform into discord, and hinder your business.

Hiring family members may give rise to nepotism in the workplace. Hiring an unqualified family member will ultimately hinder business. It can easily cause resentment among other employees and prospects especially when they are unduly favored in terms of leaves or promotion ahead of more qualified employees.

Conversely, you may be tempted to abuse your special privileges as a family member. Sometimes because of your familial standings you may expect your family member to work more for less pay. The feeling that your employees feel exploited, regardless of whether or not a family member, is the last thing you want when you are out to run a successful business.

How to Hire Family Members

There are many benefits to hiring family members if informed by the right set of hiring practices. Some of them include:

1. Ensure they are the right team fit

Before hiring family members it is essential to ask if they are the best fit for the role you’re hiring for. Make sure your relative skills and interests align with the company mission and core values. Ensuring your family member meets all the conditions required by the position they fill will help dispel any impression of favoritism that may build up among other co-workers.

2. Personality is key to your business

Your hiring practices can make or break your business in the long run. In hiring family members you must be motivated to build a great team around which to build a thriving business. In this regard, soft skills like communication skills, interpersonal skills, and emotional intelligence is indispensable. In case they lack the necessary skills, giving them a trainee position and waging reflective of this will have a positive impact towards your business.

3. Hold them accountable

Holding employees whether it’s your relative or non-related is a good way to measure that the standards and expectations of the business are met. Appraising your family members as you would for other employees will help raise the standards and exceed expectations. By bringing greater accountability in the workplace, your family member will also come to be accepted as a valued co-worker, and boost your team morale.

Why Hiring Family Members Need not be Ugly

Hiring family members can be an ugly affair especially when plagued by nepotism. Additionally, conflict that runs in the family can give way to hostility, unhealthy rivalry, and impaired relationships. However, hiring a family can be a rewarding enterprise when guided by the right approach and hiring practices. 

Even though you are not conducting drug tests for your family members, make sure that they are aware of the illegal drugs and their effects by providing valuable information and drug facts.

Final Words

The motivation to build a formidable workforce and aligning the skill and competencies of the family member for the position will certainly help inspire growth and positive change. Some of the successful businesses in America such as Dell Technologies, Walmart, Ford Motor Company, Tyson Foods, NIKE, are family businesses that continue to be the engine for growth and job creation. They represent stability, innovation and long-term commitment in a highly volatile and resilient world economy.

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