Working with family can be a pleasure. It can also be a pain, especially if you have to terminate the employment arrangement. Here are tips to help you ease the strain on family relationships.

  • Hire for the right reasons. Adhere to the skill sets needed to keep your business operating effectively. Hiring your son because he’s struggling to find a job or employing your niece so she’ll be nearby are not good business reasons for bringing staff on board.
  • Set clear expectations. Communicate the job’s performance requirements to your family member right from the start, clearly enumerating company policies for promotion, compensation, and termination. Make it plain that unethical conduct will not be tolerated and that every employee will be held to the same standard of behavior. Other employees will perceive any favoritism shown to family members. If a poor performer is allowed to “skate,” morale, performance, and your credibility will suffer.
  • Document performance. Throughout your family member’s tenure with your company maintain a detailed personnel file that tracks behavior resulting in disciplinary actions. In the unfortunate case of a necessary firing, a well-documented file will provide a narrative record that lays out your reasons and clearly communicates the evidence leading to your decision.
  • Keep the termination process fair and open. You may want to involve a direct supervisor or a human resources professional to ensure that your company is appropriately represented and to prevent the conversation from lapsing into emotional arguments. Focus the termination meeting on job performance and provide an opportunity for feedback. Use the meeting to suggest resources and contacts to help with the transition to a new career. Give your family member the option of resigning with dignity.

The bottom line: Effective communication can help you keep family and business relationships intact. Give us a call if you need more suggestions.