Working with family members can be an attractive—or possibly unavoidable—arrangement for many small business owners. Hiring family can come with benefits, but it can also create family conflicts and ill-will among other employees if the family member is even perceived to have received special treatment.
If you hire a family member, here are a few things you can do to be more mindful of nepotism.
Set up regular check-ins
Regularly checking in with your relative, their manager, and other employees can be a good way to tackle favoritism (or perceived favoritism) before it gets out of hand. During these check-ins, you can glean information regarding:
- Your family member’s job performance, including successes and failures
- Interactions between family and non-family employees
- Issues with perceived favor or discrimination
Getting input from different people can help you ascertain whether nepotism is becoming an issue that will affect your workplace culture and even your bottom line.
Take complaints seriously
If you do receive a complaint that your family member is not fulfilling their job duties, or that an employee feels you are showing favoritism toward a relative, take it seriously.
Commit to investigating the matter, whether you agree with the initial claim or not. Inform interested parties about what you will do and when they can expect to receive a status update. Keep records of the complaint, what you discover in the investigation, and what steps you took to remedy the situation.
When you take complaints seriously, employees can feel confident that you value their input and all workers, regardless of their relationship (or lack thereof) with you.
Establish clear plans and policies
Before you even hire a family member, you can draft anti-nepotism policies. Having a policy in place before issues arise can make it easier to make decisions regarding family employees. It can also help workers understand and anticipate the boundaries you set.
For instance, if a family member is expecting to work under you and enjoy some leniency, you can point to your policy that might restrict family members from working in the same department or directly with a relative.
Nepotism can create conflicts and adversely affect workplace morale, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hire family. When you consider these tips, you can employ family with less risk of it becoming a liability.