The employment of family members in a family-owned business can be a tricky situation. In most family businesses, employment is the gateway to leadership succession and ownership transfer. Without a clear communication of the roles, responsibilities, expectations, benefits (financial and otherwise) and opportunities for advancement within the business, it can be difficult to maximize the significant advantages of employing relatives in the family business.
We have found that best managed family businesses develop a detailed, written policy on employment opportunities in the business and communicate that policy clearly and repeatedly to family members. This allows both the family member and the business to clarify expectations and plan accordingly, reducing the chances of disagreement and hard feelings that can unnecessarily detract from both the family and the business experience.