Should you hire family members when you are starting up a small business?

Written By Steps To Faculty Published May 31st, 2010

It is an old refrain: if you can’t trust family, who can you trust? The answer, of course, is that, sadly, sometimes you can’t trust family any more than the larger world. Below are three reasons why you should look at hiring outside your family when you are starting up and maintaining a small business.

Reason 1 It’s personal

Running a business becomes a lot harder when you have personal relationships at stake – or when you allow personal relationships to interfere with business. For instance, if you have a nephew or niece employed who is clearly incapable or simply not very productive in a job that demands capability and productivity, then you are hurting business – and you will surely be slower to relieve them of their duties than you would be otherwise because the person in question is a family member. When things become personal, “feelings” often dictate the handling of human resources instead of bottom-line considerations.

Reason 2 breaking up is hard to do

Whenever you fire or demote a family member, the tension is palpable; this is a blood relation, at least in many instances, and hard feelings can grow and fester because of the sense of betrayal that forms after the tough action was taken. This clearly has implications for business because a bitter family member can cause personal problems away from work that can distract your time and energy from the work at hand; as if that is not bad enough, embittered ex-employees who feel betrayed can start whisper campaigns or work at sullying the reputation of the organization. Suffice it to say, when the people involved do not know one another, feelings of betrayal are less likely to arise.

Reason 3 you may overlook more qualified candidates who can grow your organization

Maybe the most important reason why it is a bad idea to hire family members for your organization is that your devotion to the person in question can cause you to overlook the talented people that might otherwise be available. For example, not every job is just a filler job that your son in law can handle; some jobs require very specialized skills and people proficient in those skills – and overlooking outsiders for insiders can prevent you from finding the best people possible for the jobs that are most critical to you.

Yes, family is important – but family and business should not mix; there are too many personal emotions and affiliations attached and too many problems that can arise. Thus, it is always best to keep your hiring confined to people you do not know – or do not know well – and who you can safely keep at a distance.


Roger Due

Investing in Your Destiny® & Coaching Program - Wealth Building Summit Dallas, Texas

My name is Roger Due and I am from Albuquerque, New Mexico and I am the owner of the Monsano software company. This has been an absolutely fantastic conference. This is the best I have ever been to.