The hiring of relatives can be a tricky undertaking and there are valid arguments to be made both for and against working with family. The United States—along with most of the world—has a long family-owned business tradition. From the Rockefellers to the Trumps to Bud and Sam Walton—who founded Walmart, the largest family-owned business in the U.S.—there are more than a few examples of savvy entrepreneurs who created lasting family dynasties. Undoubtedly there are also many more businesses that imploded due to family conflict that we’ve never heard about.
There’s no question, family businesses are the backbone of our economy, making up somewhere between 57-64% of the GDP. According to the PwC 2014 Family Business Survey, “This year’s research tells us that the family business segment remains resilient and dynamic even though the post-recession economic environment is proving tough and there are continuing pressures in relation to skills shortages, innovation and governance.” So if you’re mulling over the hiring of a relative or starting a family business, here are a few pros and cons to consider.
Read Related: 15 Ways to Make Your Family Tougher
Pro: Common Goals
By hiring relatives, you know your employees share your goals and have a real stake in making the business succeed. If it’s a business that’s been in the family for generations, they’ll know it inside and out in a way that few regular employees can.
Con: Too Close for Comfort
While a family bond can be a great asset in the workplace, it is possible to get a little too comfortable. You know your big brother’s got your back but will he be able to take you seriously as his boss? And if he’s not working out would you be able to fire him?
Pro: Passion for the Business
When you join together as a family to create a business, you’re building a legacy for future generations. You know they’re not just in it for the paycheck.
When you’ve got family members in the trenches competing for raises and promotions with everyone else, their successes can bring about resentment and accusations of nepotism.
Pro: You Get Each Other
The built-in rapport between relatives can be a powerful advantage when it comes to productivity and communication.
Con: Blurred Lines
You can’t leave family at the office, so your work life could start to encroach on your home life and vice versa. A fight at work can escalate to include family conflicts and family conflicts can create tension at work.
Pro: Women Rule
According to the Family Business Center: “Nearly 60 percent of all family-owned businesses have women in top management team positions.” Family-owned businesses don’t seem to have the same issues with the glass ceiling and pay equity as other types of business.
If you do decide to try hiring relatives, boundaries are the number one key to making it work for everyone. This includes clearly communicating expectations, agreeing to leave work at the office and remembering that business is business—don’t take office conflicts personally.