Should You Work for Friends and Family?

Managers and business owners are often advised against hiring friends and family. If the employee doesn’t work out, a relationship can be forever ruined. It also can be awkward for other employees, because it’s difficult to be completely impartial when you have such a close relationship with one employee. And while working for friends and family might seem like a great idea, it can be more difficult than one might anticipate. However, there are some possible advantages to working for a friend or family member, assuming both parties are aware of the pitfalls upfront and focus on remaining professional. Before deciding whether or not to work for friends or family, consider the following pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Better Work Environment – Working with close friends or family can promote a more positive work environment. Good relationships among colleagues leads to better satisfaction and productivity. Non-friend and family colleagues should not be excluded from discussions or the positive environment can turn toxic quickly.
  • Openness and Honesty – It’s easier to be honest with people we know best. Have an idea about how to improve the business? You’re more likely to tell a close friend rather than a manager you don’t know outside the office. This may also inspire other employees to voice their ideas and opinions, leading to a more cooperative and innovative workplace.
  • Loyalty – Most workers today can’t count on loyalty from their employers. Mass layoffs occur on a regular basis, and often those losing their jobs have contributed greatly to their employers. As a result, it’s the norm for employees to be constantly on edge, fearing a sudden layoff despite their hard work and achievements. When working for someone you know, there is a greater sense of loyalty and a better sense of security.

Cons:

  • Assumed Nepotism – When friends and relatives work together, nepotism is often assumed by other employees. This can cause resentment, particularly when there is obvious preference in title, salary or responsibilities. You’ll have to prove that you’re held to the same standards and contribute as much as any other employee.
  • Taking Advantage – Just as employees working with friends can take advantage of the close relationship, managers can take advantage of friends and family by piling on more work or paying lower wages.
  • Reluctance to Address Problems – It might be hard to address issues with someone you know personally, for fear of damaging a good relationship. Difficult conversations must be had in the workplace, and it can be awkward when the relationship goes beyond purely professional.
  • Damaged Relationships – When things do go wrong, relationships can be hurt or damaged beyond repair. You may feel especially hurt or resentful when a friend or relative criticizes your work or disagrees with you. These feelings can bleed over into your personal relationship.

 

Working for friends and family sounds fun and less stressful than working under another manager. But consider the above pitfalls that employees often encounter before making the leap. Sometimes personal and business relationships shouldn’t mix.

What do you think? Is working for close friends and family a good idea?

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