Communication England Governance Management Next Generation UK

Ten Things To Think About When Employing Family Members

Andrew Drake suggests ten simple questions to consider before employing family members. All too often family firms have been found wanting when it comes to employing family members, not least the accusations of favouritism of family members and treating family members differently from their non-family counterparts.

When a family firm deals with employees, irrespective of whether they are family members, it should have a common practice in relation to employment policies, remuneration and reward. This helps to ensure that issues are not created which have to be addressed down the line.

Here are ten questions that should be considered by anyone thinking about recruiting a family member into the family business:

  1. How are you going to identify prospective employees from amongst the family?
  2. Are family members clear as to what is expected of them if they want to become employees?
  3. Do family members have the relevant experience and qualifications for the job in question?
  4. Do family members require a business mentor, either before or after they become employees and if so should that mentor be a non-family member?
  5. Do all family employees have a clear job description and career plan?
  6. How do family employees’ terms of employment compare to those of any non-family counterparts?
  7. Who should appraise family employees?
  8. Who should decide on their remuneration?
  9. Who decides whether they are appointed to the Board?
  10. Can in-laws become employees and/or directors?

Family firms can engage in best practice by ensuring that the policies that they introduce are applied to all members of staff with clear communication of policies to ensure that everyone is treated the same way, thus helping to improve the underlying human resources framework within the business that can then help to recruit, retain and motivate all members of staff within the family firm too.

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