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hiring friends and family

What You Should Know Before Hiring Friends and Family

The urge to hire friends and family isn’t limited to small businesses. People are people, and they tend to look after those they care about, regardless of what size their company is.

But small businesses have a few extra wrinkles that make the issue of hiring friends and family pop up a little more often – and that make such a hire carry a lot more weight.

The following are a few pros and cons of hiring friends and family. Several of them will apply regardless of what size organization you lead or are a part of. But all of them are especially important to consider if you’re an entrepreneur leading a company in its early years.

The Pros

Familiarity: Many of the upsides to hiring a friend or family member stem from your familiarity with the person. You likely already have a decent idea of who the person is and how qualified they are for the job. You know some of their strengths and weaknesses. That leads to another benefit of hiring an “insider” …

Quicker Hiring Process: If you’re a small business, even a single hire can make a massive difference to your productivity and output. So the quicker you’re able to get an employee up and running, the better. Traditional hiring steps are going to take time – putting together job postings, sifting through resumes and interviewing can take weeks or months to finish. But if you already have plenty of background knowledge about a candidate (like you would a friend or family member), you can bypass much of the usual process and get that person in the door.

A Potential Super-Worker: Some family members and friends truly appreciate the fact that you’ve given them a chance, despite many of the potential issues you, as an employer, could face by hiring someone close to you. In return, they’ll be apt to work harder than your typical employee, and sometimes they’ll be more willing to work odd hours than someone you brought in through traditional channels. Better still, they can be trustworthy and reliable, knowing that their reputation within your family or social circle is at stake.

The Cons

A Potential Leech: Family and friends aren’t always going to be the faithful, dutiful superstars you hope they’ll be. Some will take a position for granted, assuming that you’ll protect them from outside scrutiny because, after all, you’re close. That manifests itself in a number of ways, such as laziness and sloppy production, as well as feeling entitled to bring outside problems into the workplace

What Others Think: Even in the best of situations, where your friend or family member is a diligent worker that makes the company better, you’re always at risk of a perception problem. Many employees don’t take nepotism well, believing that close friends and family are taking up positions that belong to someone more qualified, and that they’ll be first picked for promotions and raises, thus limiting regular employees’ upside potential.

Potential Fallout: Whenever you hire someone close to you, you also need to think about the potential fallout in your personal life. If you hire your brother, for instance, even if you end up firing him with good cause, his termination could result in a serious family rift. And it doesn’t even have to get to that step – if a friend or family member takes advantage of you, your relationship could be strained for as long as they’re on your payroll.

A new hire is a pivotal moment for any small business, but it carries so much more weight when the decision involves a family member or friend. If you’re looking for guidance on this or other vital business decisions, don’t brainstorm by yourself – talk to the pros. McManamon & Co.’s suite of business services includes general consulting on numerous topics, from strategizing to tax planning to hiring.

Every position counts at a small business, so make the most of every hire. Call us at 440.892.9088 or contact us online today.


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