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Jan 18
2017

Hiring Family Members

Posted by: Steve Marr

Tagged in: Untagged 

The question about hiring family members comes up frequently. I’ve seen this work out well and I’ve seen catastrophic results from a relational point of view.

When asked this question, my first response is another question: “Would you be able to let the family member go if circumstances required termination?” In most situations the short answer is no, at least not without great pain and difficulty.

 

In this article I am not referring to hiring spouses or children in your business. That’s a different issue which I will cover at another time.

A simple business principle to apply is that you must believe you have the ability to manage staff and use disciplinary measures when necessary, including termination if appropriate. If you are unable to engage in candid conversations when needed, you definitely should not hire the family member.

Our emotions and personal feelings are inclined to influence these decisions. This is a major mistake.  Dr. James Dobson reminds us that our emotions fool us every time. He is correct. We may feel pressured to give somebody a job that needs the income. While emotionally we want to support the family member; giving employment is a long term commitment.  These employment arrangements are easier to get into than to get out of. If a family member is in financial difficulty, you may be better off to offer short-term financial assistance as a gift rather than an ill-fated job offer.

If you do consider hiring a family member, don’t neglect conducting a regular job interview. This sends the message that the relationship will be professional and thorough. Also, before hiring a family member, work through the job responsibilities to determine if the person is qualified for the job. Trying to squeeze the proverbial round peg into the square hole will lead to frustration for all.

I also recommend going through the exact same process you would use for any other hire. Furthermore, you need to be very clear about all responsibilities and expectations. Outline clear responsibilities. Make sure the person understands and agrees in advance.

Moses gave us crucial instructions when he said, “You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God’s.” (Deuteronomy 1:17, ESV) If you are unable to be objective with family members, you probably should not hire them.

If you decide to hire a family member, one way is to consider hiring them as an independent contractor to do specific work for a specific period of time. This way if the work is unsatisfactory or if relational issues surface, you can keep the person through the end of the agreement without renewing the contract.

At times hiring family members can be a great move and other times a complete disaster. Work through an orderly process to interview and discern risks against advantages. Ask the Lord for guidance before you offer the position. Since he wants your best as well as the best for your family member, you can depend on His guidance.


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