Want to Hire a Friend or Thinking of Hiring Relatives?
Here are the Pros and Cons to consider.
If you find yourself apprehensive about hiring a friend or family member, you’re not alone. It’s common to worry about mixing your personal and professional lives because boundaries can easily become muddled. Before you enter into a business relationship with someone inside your friend or family circle, it’s important to consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of this decision on your business. While hiring your best friend or sibling doesn’t have to necessarily hinder the success of your small business, it’s a decision that requires you to heavily weigh the pros and cons.
Friends and family are vital support systems to small businesses. While entrepreneurship is undoubtedly rewarding, it can be an emotionally taxing process. Friends and relatives are often there to offer you their encouragement, help, and loyalty as you build and grow your small business. Because they’ve offered you their support throughout your business’s growth process, your friends or relatives could have the potential to be great employees and colleagues. They know your motivations, your work ethic, and they admire the passion you have for your small business. Hiring someone close to you, then, doesn’t have to be a painstaking process; it can be a seamless transition from best friend to best employee.
If you have hired a friend or sibling because they have the skills you need in your business, you may find that working alongside them puts your relationship to the test; however, you will also probably feel more comfortable entrusting them with certain responsibilities and tasks because of your history with them. Having the loyalty of a friend or family member on your team can even help you as you begin expanding your business and taking on new clients and partnerships. As your business grows, your responsibilities as a small business owner will grow, too. By hiring someone close to you–even if it’s your eager niece or nephew!–you will have a new, trusted employee who can take some weight off of your shoulders so that you can focus on building your business.
Hiring a friend or family member can be advantageous not only for you but for your prospective employee as well. Similar to how your friend knows your motivations, it is likely that you’ve become familiar with their strengths and weaknesses. If you are confident that your friend or relative can offer an extra set of hands or a skill-set your business desperately needs, or you know that they are hardworking and have great potential, you can create a position for them that is tailored to their strengths and your needs. If they lack experience but possess an eagerness to learn, hiring them could be beneficial for both your small business and them; however, if your friend or family member doesn’t have the skills needed to add value to your company, you probably shouldn’t hire them.
While there are many benefits to hiring a friend or family member, it is important to recognize the drawbacks of mixing the professional with the personal. You may feel compelled to skip the interview process entirely out of loyalty but reviewing your friend or sibling’s qualifications and their ability to fulfill the duties of the role (or their potential to grow into it!) is important. If a formal interview seems unnecessary, sitting down and having a conversation about your expectations, your business’s standards, and what they can contribute to your team can be a great way to determine if hiring them could be beneficial to you both. Building a strong team is essential to any business, so you must consider whether or not they are a good fit for your company.
If you have decided to hire a friend or family member, establishing clearly defined boundaries and roles is key. You must feel comfortable assuming an authoritative position and delegating responsibilities, offering constructive criticism, and even hearing their suggestions and comments about your business and your leadership. Fundamental to the success of any business is communication, so it is important for both of you to prepare for the changes that come with navigating a professional and personal relationship.
What Should You Do?
If you do choose to hire a friend or relative, it’s important to at least keep these considerations in mind. Conducting a real interview or having a meaningful conversation is integral to the hiring process but many neglect it when it comes to hiring their friends or close relatives. While your loyalty to your loved ones puts you in a difficult position, you must also make the choice that is best for your small business. Your next new hire should add value to your company, regardless of whether your business is a startup, small, or established. Hiring from within your friend or family circle doesn’t have to hinder your business; however, knowing some of the benefits and drawbacks of doing so can help you make the decision that is right for your business.