Employing family members
Preventing communication breakdowns with family employees
If you employ a family member it is sometimes easy to ignore the importance of open and regular communication. A typical response to a difficult scenario is to avoid dealing with it rather than confront a situation or an issue early on.
This creates a breeding ground for bad feeling and resentment that could destabilise the business' operations and put your family relations at risk. It can also create an unpleasant working environment for non-family staff and could encourage them to take sides.
Best practice in communication
You may find it useful to assess whether or not your management style encourages a culture of listening and consensus.
You might achieve this by:
- finding out family employees' different goals and needs, and then seeing if you can coordinate them - you could ask an independent party to do this
- creating opportunities for views and concerns to be heard
- addressing those views and concerns
- seeking consensus for decisions, whenever practical
- encouraging an open, sharing atmosphere rather than a blame culture
See further guidance on engaging with staff.