While there are great benefits to having your father, mother, siblings or extended relatives as part of your business, there are different reasons why family businesses struggle. Managing family relationships is difficult, so imagine how hard it is to manage these dynamics in the workplace. Here are 4 traps to avoid when running a family business:
1. Resentment among non-family employees. The tendency for non-family employees to resent an employed family member is quite common within family businesses. This trend is particularly pronounced if a family business owner creates a position for a family member when there is no justifiable need for the created job.
2. The tendency to relax training requirements among family members. Regardless of whether an employee is a family member or a non-family member, training is one of the most influential components of an employee’s job performance and safety in the workplace. As the owner of a family business, you should make sure that family members receive the same degree of training as all other hired employees.
3. Generational differences in work style. There is a stark contrast in the work values and style of millennials, members of Generation X, and baby boomers. For instance, millennials value a flexible work environment and a technology-friendly workplace while baby boomers value hard work and promotions. Family business owners must recognize these differences and adapt accordingly.
4. Handling family members who do not want to stay in the family business. Not every family member is a good fit for the family business, and it can be difficult when a brother, sister or other family member decides to leave the family business. Owners should be prepared for this possibility and have a backup strategy in place to ensure that business operations are not severely impacted by the departure of a family member.