Bringing Family Members into the Business

April 27, 2015

Making decisions that impact both your family and your business is never easy. An action that is tailored to meet personal or family expectations can negatively affect the business and vice versa. The most common example is when under-qualified family members end up in key positions within the company, either from a sense of responsibility on the part of the owner, or a sense of entitlement on the part of the relative. Bringing family members into the business because they ‘ought to' or ‘need to' can be damaging.

Instead, family members should be hired because they ‘want to' — i.e. the people in question see an alignment between their vision and that of the company, an alignment of their abilities and the tasks required of the role, and an alignment of values. It is absolutely vital to ensure the next leader of the firm has the ability and the drive to ensure the business continues to move forward.

Core Strengths

All of us have natural instincts or core strengths. These are the things we excel at or love to do. Surveys report that only 12% of the workforce has the opportunity to utilize its core strengths. Employees who don't have a strong passion for their role often feign interest or exhibit cynicism. They watch the clock and become quickly bored. They don't pay attention to results, which in turn tends to create a lack of accountability. This inevitably impedes the performance of not only the individual, but also the performance of the company.

When disengaged, most people tend to suffer in silence, while for others dissatisfaction escalates to absenteeism, low morale and/or hostility both at home and on the job. It may also result in termination of employment.

For many, boredom further manifests itself as stress. Although the human body tries to adapt to the strains, it is not sustainable. If the situation is not addressed, the result is burnout. Needless to say, this is not good for you, your business or your family.

Think seriously when considering family members for your business and when choosing next generation leaders. It is critical to ensure that the role they will play will afford them the opportunity to enjoy work. The happy result is personal and professional success as well as a rewarding life, which in turn can only benefit the business.

Jeff Noble, CMC

Jeff Noble is a Director and Practice Leader with The BDO SuccessCare Program. Jeff applies a truly holistic approach to helping business owners and their families build and transition the social, physical and intellectual capital that is essential for business continuity.

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