Running a family business is a rewarding experience, but one that comes with its own unique set of challenges. You are working with a different type of business complexity. Recognizing this complexity and addressing it head on is one of the best ways to ensure you’re not playing favorites and running off unrelated employees.
Here are some of the best ways to avoid conflict in your family business.
Don’t Air Your Dirty Laundry
One of the fastest ways to drive employees away is to get them involved in drama. Family drama is even worse because the employee knows it’s a losing game, no matter who they side with.
In the workplace, go to every effort possible to avoid airing your dirty laundry. Practice smart conflict resolution within your family so you don’t unintentionally impose drama on your employees.
Sometimes, family members go to extra lengths to avoid playing favorites by treating their relatives worse than the rest of the team. This can cause just as much of an adverse effect as playing favorites.
It is best to avoid taking any sides at all. Treat your employees as you would your family members and vice versa. Stay as neutral as possible in all meetings and company matters. If one person is being disciplined for bad behavior, another must be disciplined too. Giving reprimands and kudos on equal grounds establishes a common level of respect across the entire team.
Give Your Team Control Over Their Schedule
One of the easiest ways to show you’re not playing favorites is to give everyone on your team equal control over their own schedule. This way, it won’t look like you’re scheduling your family members on the busier days (which could mean more tips) and everyone else on the slower days, or vice versa.
By using a small business scheduling app, you can leave shift change requests and time off requests in the hands of the rest of your team. This will keep you from looking like nepotism is having any kind of influence over your business.
Don’t Hide Behind Your Family Ties
One of the worst things you can do is pretend you’re not related to the other family members in your business. Your employees know it. Hiding behind your family ties will only raise red flags instead of make your new team members feel as if you’re rolling out the welcome mat.
Don’t Blend Business with Home Life
This might sound like an obvious tip, but it’s not. Many family businesses will employ their team members to help with things around the house. For example, you might ask your IT guy to help you with something tech related at home. Or, you might write off a personal vacation as a business vacation because you’re traveling with your employees. Avoid this at all costs.
How Do You Separate Family From Non-Family?
The best way to establish healthy boundaries as you try to run your family business is to separate all family matters entirely. Keep your managerial practices as neutral as possible so you don’t risk running off top talent because of a familial misunderstanding.
Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007 and again in 2010, 2013 and 2014.