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Posted by on May 6, 2014 in Talent Management in Asia | 1 comment

How Companies can Benefit from Relatives Working Together

How Companies can Benefit from Relatives Working Together

It’s no secret that working with relatives working together is relatively common in Asia both in family run businesses along with corporations as well. I previously looked at Finding Success in a Family Business from a personal perspective and today I’ll examine it from the company’s viewpoint. In other words, why should a company consider supporting and maybe even encouraging family members to work together? There are a number of positive reasons why companies may want to hire family members including:

  • Increasing Loyalty
  • Greater Trust
  • Clearer understanding of individual background
  • Motivation and retention

However, there are a number of challenges that companies who have relatives working together have to deal with. Here are a few of along with how to overcome them as well.

Overcoming Position Nepotism

Unfortunately hiring relatives is a two edged sword – it can diminish the credibility of those who employed a family member and the person who’s been hired into the company. Essentially people feel that favoritism has been used rather than merit based hiring.

The number one way to tackle this challenge is by ensuring you only hire people in positions where they truly deserve them. The second way is to inculcate transparency in recruitment as much as possible. This can be achieved by ensuring a thorough hiring process for every candidate and having a non-relative sit in on the interview as well. In the end, you won’t be able to make everyone happy but you can do your best.

Dealing with the Backlash of Terminating Someone

It happens – you fire one family member and any others who are working in the same company react. It doesn’t matter whether they believe that the person deserved to be terminated, they simply feel that if they don’t stand up for their relative they’ll be seen as a traitor.

There’s no hard and fast rule for this one. It’s a sensitive topic and unique to companies where relatives are working together. However more often than not employers will see that people who are truly serious about their job may be effected for a short while, after all it’s only human to feel for those you love. But after some time they’ll get over it and it will be business as usual. In the meantime it often helps to have someone higher up in management to talk and council the person(s) left behind.

Balancing Pay and Benefits

Remuneration is supposed to be a confidential matter right? Probably wrong if you’ve got relatives working together in one company. It’s so common to hear things like “Oh you got promoted? That’s great! How much do you make now?” over the dinner table. Or even “The company gives you a 1300 cc car? I’ll talk to them too – I should get the same.”

This one has a solution – a policy stronger than a stone house. There’s not much anyone can say when everything is written down and enforced. Remember that having a collection of policies kept away in a drawer don’t do anything at all. They have to be implemented fairly across the board. There are simply no exceptions. If you can achieve this, balancing pay and benefits will come naturally.

Establishing Success of the Business over the Employee

Slipping into the wants and even needs of your relatives is extremely easy and can cause the best of us to overlook the success of the business for that of the family member. Or even if you don’t work with a relative but have family members working together who want something and are crucial to your team. Do you bend over backwards to make them all succeed?

Of course the answer is…yes and no. But this isn’t about family members – it’s about creating success for all employees to funnel into the success of the business. And if the success of an employee is not in line with the company’s success then it’s a simple no. Satisfied, engaged employees create success for the team, department, function and finally the business. It’s all about the bigger picture.

Really, leadership is an art. It’s a fine balance that needs to be found every day and for all the complications that you throw into the operations of the company, unique solutions must be found. This is especially true when relatives work together and yes, it can be done. It’s just got its unique set of challenges. What’s you take? Do you think that companies should support this or not?

Photo Credit: John Carleton via photopin cc

  • Nasir Zuberi

    I wish that business owners, their children & relatives learn from this or at least take a look. Unfortunately, people running family businesses in Pakistan are very closed minded & follow a set pattern of induction, promotion, retention & termination as well.

    Many professionals have been pushed into turmoil by these Family Businesses as they ‘only trust’ their relative or a closed one for feedback & spying. And most of the time its bundled with personal grudge or liking & disliking.

    Family Businesses hire professionals as a show piece but are afraid to empower them, these organizations hire people from MNCs as a show piece & creating positive image for the outside world and attracting associated talent, but many a times these professionals are literally thrown out of the organization if they raise voice or ask questions. You will only find people succeeding in these organizations who either have no principals or are without spine. List is long and surprising….

    As a result, we will not find any Pakistani organization progressing towards International or MNC track.