When you start your small business, chances are that some family and friends might approach you for employment.
Moreover, the ones who will be contacting you are likely looking for any work, not just your type of work.
If you are considering employing family and friends, you might need to consider the following factors:
• set of skills needed for the position
• good work ethics
• the pay scale
• pressure by family and friends to pay more.
Family and friends: Might Take You For Granted
One of the disadvantages of employing family and friends is that they may take your authority for granted.
This usually happen because of the familiarity and relationships that exist between you and them.
For example, family and friends may not give you the type of respect and recognition that you deserve as the owner of the business.
This can, therefore, send negative signals to other employees who are not related to you. And you do not need that.
Family quarrels Might Affect Your Business
Another disadvantage is that if there is a current or previous family quarrels back home, the effect might spill over to the work place.
In other words, the bad blood generated by such quarrels might still linger in the minds of family members you employed even after you have forgotten.
Consequently, this can make it difficult for you to make some sensitive decisions.
For example, family members are just likely to:
- read meanings to whatever decision or statement you may make
- some will think that some of your decisions are targeted at them
- go to the extent of interfering in the running of the business
- relay to the village whatever decisions you make in your business
- worst still, majority of villages will not reason the way you reason
Bullying of other employees
Some family and friends may bully other employees that are not related to you.
Some of them will often do this because of the of the misconception that:
- you are one of their own
- you cannot sack them as easily as you would other employees
- And they know you right from home.
Consequently, this can negatively affect your business in the following ways:
- it can affect productivity
- reduce loyalty
- Create distrust
- Create room for gossip
- result in the character assassinations
- affect the morale of other employees
- some unhappy employees might sell your trade secrets to your competitors
Therefore, if you are thinking of employing family members to work for you, you should put these points into consideration before making your final decision.
Family and friends: Makes Discipline Difficult
Employing family and friends in your business can make it difficult for you to enforce discipline in your workforce.
For example, if you punish a family member or friend, he will think that you do not like him.
Others might think that you are playing double standards.
Even when it is obvious that he has done something wrong, he will try to change the narrative in other to attract sympathy from family members back home.
On the other hand, if you do not punish an erring friend or family member, you will be setting bad precedents in your workplace.
Consequently, your other employees will think that you are treating them poorly because they are not related to you.
Family and friends: Can Disobey
Inferior minded family or friend may not obey your instructions or follow laid down company procedures and processes.
The very bad ones among them can assume that you cannot punish them because of the existing relationship between you and them.
In other words, they might even disobey instructions that are in the best interest of your business; so that when you complain they will report you to people in the village.
Family and friends: Could Take Over Your Business
In some cases, employing family and friends to work for you can be a risky decision.
This part of the article reminds me of two unfortunately incidents in one of the southern cities in Nigeria.
First, it was the case of a successful transporter who brought his relation from their village to work for him in the business.
Unfortunately, his brother collaborated with criminals to kidnap and kill him.
The second was the case of another successful furniture maker. His brother conspired with other bad boys to kidnap and kill the man.
Might make unreasonable demands
Some family and friends might make unreasonable demands.
For example, they can ask for a salary that is not commensurate with their duties.
Others might ask for preferential treatment, to the detriment of other employees who are not related to you.
You should, therefore, guard against giving values to those who do not deserve them.
In conclusion, let me say quickly here that employing family and friends is not a bad idea at all.
Furthermore, you should bear in mind that there are good and bad family and friends.
However, if employing family and friends will wreck your business, you are better off not employing them.
In business, you should not yield to sentiment. Only the best is good for your business.
By Samuel Ijenhi
B. Sc. Accounting (University of Benin)
Benin City, Nigeria
Founder: Ijenhi Business Solutions.