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Top 4 Drawbacks of Hiring Family Members and How to Overcome Them

Posted by Bhavya Agarwal

January 16, 2024

 Hiring family members can have drawbacks, but these are the best ways to resolve them seamlessly.

“Motivation comes from working on things we care about. It also comes from working with people we care about,” said Sheryl Sandberg, the author of ‘Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead.’ This quote captures how motivation is fueled by two primary factors, i.e., working passionately and having a supportive network of colleagues. Considering this, hiring family members can be a great way to create a close-knit environment and achieve personal and professional growth in the business realm.

Inter-twining professional endeavors and personal connections bring opportunities and challenges. On the one hand, this employment dynamic might spark visions of reliability, collaborative work culture, and shared intent. On the other hand, it can lead to conflicts of interest, a lack of accountability, and strained relationships.

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Strategic planning and following the best HR practices are needed to overcome these issues.  

4 disadvantages of hiring family members and how to mitigate them

1. Absence of accountability

Having family members as employees in your company can help you work with more dedication and soundness. However, sometimes, there can be cases where perceived favoritism towards family members can result in a lack of accountability and lower morale in the workforce.

Strategy: Establish clear expectations and guidelines

  • Prioritize and implement “clarity above all” as a sacred mantra in the organization. 
  • Ensure clear goals and policies concerning advancement prospects, hiring employees, accountability, and performance expectations are established.

These should be applicable and adhered to by all employees, regardless of familial bonds, thus promoting a culture of equity and unbiasedness.

2. Strained personal connections

Incorporating familial bonds into professional work can often negatively affect personal relationships. Workplace disagreements or conflicts of interest can lead to elevated tensions, disputes, disorientation, and more issues.

Strategy: Set boundaries and communication channels

Open communication is the key to resolving strained relationships. 

  • Establish boundaries between personal and professional interactions. 
  • Have designated channels for work-related problems to avoid strained relationships. 

According to the Pew Research Center 2023 study, nearly 4 in 10 workers see their job as central to their identity. The McKinsey & Company report also states that workplace relationships account for 39% of employees’ job satisfaction. The same report also says that relationships with management account for 86% of workers’ satisfaction with their interpersonal ties at work. 

Hence, clear communication and boundaries lead to more job satisfaction, heightened morale, and trust.

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3. Effects on the decision-making process

Sound decision-making is necessary to set the stage for organizational success. However, appointing family members in managerial positions can impede employee development initiatives and the decision-making dynamics within a company. It can also make non-family employees unsure about expressing themselves or challenging family members’ ideas, hindering creative and diverse perspectives.

Strategy: Cultivate an all-inclusive atmosphere

  • Encourage a work environment where voicing different viewpoints and having open discussions are enabled. 
  • Motivate all employees to participate in decision-making to leverage individual innovative thinking, leading to increased productivity and employee engagement. 

4. Succession and future changes

If family members are in leadership positions, succession planning can become complicated. Seeking equilibrium between familial expectations and a firm’s goals and needs can create issues in grooming suitable successors.

Strategy: Devise an encyclopedic succession plan

  • Develop a comprehensive succession plan that reflects an enterprise’s future requirements and family dynamics. 
  • Offer opportunities for mentorship and skill enhancement to potential successors. This will ensure they are ready to take on administration roles. 

The final word

Despite the potential pitfalls of this employment type, family businesses are taking the world by storm. As per the 2023 EY and University of St.Gallen Family Business Index, the largest 500 family enterprises are growing faster than the transnational economy. They are generating a whopping revenue of US$8.02 trillion and employing 24.5 million people globally.

Remember, while hiring top talents, implementing fairness, transparent evaluation measures, inclusive decision-making, and comprehensive succession planning can help address these drawbacks effectively.

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Want to know more about setting up best HR practices? Since 2006, Escalon has helped thousands of startups get off the ground with our back-office solutions for accounting, bookkeeping, taxes, HR, payroll, insurance, and recruiting — and we can help yours, too. Talk to an expert today

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. Escalon and its affiliates are not providing tax, legal or accounting advice in this article. If you would like to engage with Escalon, please contact us here.


Bhavya Agarwal
Bhavya Agarwal

Bhavya Agarwal is an ardent content writer who loves exploring the world of artistic expressions to create stories that are riveting. She has crafted fictive and engaging experiences for several renowned brands and helped them achieve their vision and mission. Besides storytelling, she can be found traveling the world, reading novels and watching anime to broaden her horizon of multiculturalism and studying different literary works.

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