the pros and cons of hiring family members

The Pros and Cons of Hiring Family Members

Are you considering hiring your brother, sister, cousin, uncle or aunt? Can family members work together harmoniously? Is hiring family members the best solution for your business? It’s a lot more common to find relatives working together than one may think. In fact, an astonishing 90% of businesses in the US are owned or run by families.

However, the decision to hire a relative is not one to be taken lightly. Family members can lead to the growth of your business — or its downfall. Before you decide to give that cousin or sibling a job in your startup, weigh the pros and cons of that decision first.

In this article, we look at the benefits and disadvantages of hiring family members to work for you. Let’s start with the pros.

When hiring relatives, you know their strengths and weaknesses

The advantages of hiring relatives, really depends on how much you really know them. You have a better idea of the strengths and weaknesses a candidate is bringing to the business when you know them well, as opposed to when you hire a stranger.

You will know in advance whether the person is hardworking and can be relied upon. Furthermore, you will have anticipated what it will be like to work in the same environment as this individual.

Can you hire family members for less compensation?

While it is not ethical to take advantage of an employee because they are family, it is easy to agree on a salary that works for them and your business too.

If you have a close relationship with them, you have a better chance of negotiating their salary and benefits so the financial outlay benefits you both. Moreover, your family member may be more willing to work in your business — even for a little less pay — than work in another environment.

Hiring family members can be a great fit for your business

Great talent is very hard to find. Statistics show that around 42% of recruiters fear they might not find the talent that their businesses needs. Therefore, if a family member has the right skills to contribute to your company, hiring them would be a great decision. Further, they may possess unique skills that turn out to be hugely valuable to your business.

Communication is easier when you work with family members

Since you already know your new hire, it’s easier to interact with them. Remember that for a new or small business, consistent communication is essential. Without proper lines of communication between the employer and workforce, your startup might crumble. It would be a good thing to have a person within your business who you can communicate with freely.

Hiring family members will increase motivation

If you have a good relationship with the person you hire, they’ll be less likely to disappoint you. Why? With loyalty comes pressure to please.

They will more resilient in their job and try to give their best as they won’t want to look bad in front of you. Hiring a family member who is committed to the job and ready to go the extra mile is especially valuable for any company.

Going into business with family members is a chance to test them out

Hiring family members can happen for many reasons. One of those may be the desire to expand, partner or test the individual for succession. In this case, you can hire family members to see how they fit in the business and whether or not they can be groomed to take up leadership roles.

If you want to test your children, for example, to manage a new branch of your business or take over from you, it would be best to start them off with smaller roles.

The cons of bringing in family members to work for you:

Hiring family members can cause internal issues

It doesn’t matter if you’re treating your family members differently or not, what’s important is how other employees will perceive your decision to hire a relative.

Some of your workers may come to uninformed conclusions about the individual’s skills and suitability for the job. Hiring family members is called bias and is often frowned upon in the workplace. One of the disadvantages of hiring your relatives is that once employees form a negative opinion about it, it’s very difficult mindset to change.

The practice of hiring relatives may bring about favoritism

This is a major reason why most companies have a policy against hiring relatives. It’s very likely that such a decision may bring favoritism into the business. Special treatment may bring a host of problems that affect long-run productivity. And even if you don’t give them preferential treatment, there is still the risk of the employee thinking that they deserve it.

Hiring relatives can ruin a good family relationship

You feel sorry for your unemployed relative and decide to hire them for an open position in your firm. Hiring relatives is a decision that may seem great at first, but it can lead to a lot of problems if things don’t work out as you expected.

Tough decisions, like firing your family member, may permanently severe your relationship with them and your close relatives. Moreover, the individual may take advantage of the fact that you know each other to slack in their job or break the rules.

Mixing personal relationships and business doesn’t work out in most cases because people don’t think the company rules apply to them in the same way they do to other employees.

Hiring family members causes problems discussing poor performance

The hardest job an employer has to do is calling an employee in to discuss their poor performance at work. How do you tell a family member that you have intimately known for years that they are not doing a good job?

Performance reviews are meant to assist employees to improve weak areas. But, having such a talk with your older brother/sister, can come off badly. Most people working with family, tend to avoid these discussions altogether. And that leads to a host of other issues for your business. 

You may overestimate skill-level when hiring family members

Ever had a great feeling about someone only to be disappointed? You may think that hiring a family member is an excellent fit for a particular role in your business only to realize that they’re not as capable as you first imagined.

When this is the case, and on-job training doesn’t improve their abilities, you will have to make the tough decision. Most times, it won’t be pretty.

Setting boundaries may bring problems when working with family members

It may be hard to separate work from your personal life when you are working with family members. If your relationship is not solid, serious friction could arise. In other cases, the family member may cross the boundaries of their role and bring about conflict with other employees.

While there is no way to completely avoid the challenges that come with employing family, you can limit them by communicating the rules and standard of work required upfront. Don’t hire your relatives if you think it will present more problems than benefits for your business.

If the cons of hiring family members may turn into a nightmare for your business, the you could consider hiring freelancers from PeoplePerHour. Web Developers, Graphic Designers, Business Support Specialists and many more, are just a few clicks away.

Alice Berg
Alice Berg is a career advisor at Skillroads, who helps people to find their own way in life, gives career advice and guidance, helps young people get prepared for their careers.
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