Perspectives from ISB

In business, few things can be as stressful as running a company that’s staffed and managed by a mix of family and non-family employees. The constant juggling of family drama, emotions and entitlements conflicting against the needs of your non-familial staff can quickly contribute to an extremely volatile company culture. Here are four solutions to taking control of your family business:

Make Sure They’ve Served Their Time: Ensure that the family members you’re considering hiring, or going into business with, have had at least 2-3 years of experience working for someone else in a position relatable to what you need. Carefully consider how they contributed to that company, their skillsets developed and acquired there, what their attitudes were like outside of the office, and determine how they will either positively or negatively influence your staff.

Hold Family Members Accountable: In family business, the favorability towards members of your family must be no different than the rest of your staff. They must have their own set of deliverables, expectations, and operational roles, and be held accountable to those roles.

All Familial Staff Must Set the Example: Because a member of your staff is related to you, does not give them an excuse to be lazy. As an owner, it’s up to you to hold them to higher standards than the rest of the company.

Don’t Fear Termination: Terminating a family member is the most gut-wrenching decision a business owner can make, but it’s also an essential one when it comes to the survivability of your organization. If a family member is not keeping up with the paces, and not striving to deliver their best, then it’s up to you to make the decision whether it’s time to bring someone more qualified into their role.

Source: Mosca, Louis., March 23, 2017;