Hire Ground

By August 2, 2012November 4th, 2016Blog, Small Biz

By: Lois Kirkpatrick

Your startup is really starting to take off, and you and your business partner need to staff up. Your family members are excited about your growth, and want in on this ground-floor opportunity. Question: should you hire your mom?

Answer: No – unless your mom is Oprah.

Since Oprah doesn’t have any kids, the answer is basically “no.”

Hiring relatives is such a mine field that most established companies have a “no family members can work here together” policy.

You might think it’d be easy to work with people you’ve known your whole life, but the research shows the opposite: two out of three family businesses never make it to the second generation.

There are lots of reasons why working with relatives rarely works out. If you can’t make it through Thanksgiving dinner without disagreeing with family members, spending 40-60 hours a week together in the office is not going to end well.

Another reason hiring kinfolk is a bad idea is because they usually expect to be treated differently than non-relatives. Now, they may say that they understand business is separate from family life. They may agree to be treated like any other employee. They may even offer to work for less money than a regular hire would.

But when push comes to shove, they’ll expect you to make exceptions for them. After all, “blood is thicker than business.” And those exceptions can add up over time and lower the morale and productivity of your other employees – or seriously compromise the solvency of your company. If the worst-case scenario happens, it would be very, very hard to fire your mom – or even cousin Larry – without causing a lifelong family feud.

It’s better to enact a “No Relatives Need Apply” policy now. Then you can focus on finding and hiring superstars who will take your company to the next level. Need help in figuring out this crucial business decision? Read these:

7 Keys to Hiring Your Start-Ups’ First Employee

Why Startups Should Hire the Minimally Viable Candidate

Startup Hiring: An Entrepreneur Disagrees With Entrepreneur Magazine

Hiring Employee #1