Questions & Answers

Posted by A P on 2013-11-13 03:26:13
Title: Hiring family /working with family member I have a medium size business and just hired my Sister to...
Category: Leadership

Hiring family /working with family member I have a medium size business and just hired my Sister to run Accounting and bookkeeping . She comes from banking /finance and food and beverage .Lots of Business exp. Brings lots to the table . But I feel she is trying to take over the company ,She is very aggressive I find her lecturing my Managers and talking down to the staff .I know she is trying to update our ERP systems and comes from a way more advanced Managing software system then ours but things take time to implement She hasn't been here very long ,a month maybe ,Do I cut the ties or try to real her in? If so how do you go about defusing it ? My wife said I was crazy to Hire family .


Lisa Taylor
2013-11-22 16:29:27

It sounds like both you and your sister have taken a significant leap in this new working relationship. Based on the information provided, your sister is adjusting to mid-sized business life having come from larger corporations. At the same time, you have taken on a new employee who comes with all of the additional emotional ties that family brings.

Hiring family is complicated. Your work relationship is a new dynamic that includes your wife who likely is not as involved with other staffing concerns. Your sister may feel like she needs to justify herself to your other staff to feel that she is succeeding on her own merits.

In the end, it really comes down to two key questions:

  1. Is she the right person for this role given your future plans for the business?
  2. Can you work together in a professional relationship just as you would any other staff member?
If you answered "yes" to these questions, here are some suggested next steps.

You need to address your concerns and help your sister adjust to your company's needs and culture, just as you would any other new employee. Be clear with her about your expectations and make sure she knows how and when to bring forward new ideas, how to address staff and what is outside her specific area of control.

You may consider working with a coach or consultant that will help the two of you establish a good working relationship with parameters that protect your family. A third party is often helpful in this area. I recommend Jim Stewart from ProfitPATH who works frequently with family businesses.

You may also want to take a look at the resources available from the Canadian Association of Family Enterprises (CAFE). Their members deal with family dynamics within business all of the time and are a great resource.

If, however, you answered "no" to the questions above, you know your next step. There is a saying that entrepreneurs need to "hire slow and fire fast." Having the wrong person in any role costs you time, energy and often morale of your other staff.

Whatever you choose, make the decision today and start taking action. Stalling will only put your relationship and business at risk.

Lisa Taylor, President, Challenge Factory Inc