August 20, 2016
Family In the Workplace
It’s often said that the three greatest determinants of success of a c-store are location, location, location. That being said, I doubt many retailers would disagree with the following math:
a great location
+ lousy people
There should be no doubt in any retailer’s mind that people are a critical factor in every location’s success. The question is how do you hire good people?
Today there are many tools to assist you. These include a variety of tests to determine the potential employee’s attitude (how they feel about things) and aptitude (skills that they may or may not have). Naturally, which of these is most important will depend on the position you are hiring for and its requirements. The balance you would select for an office position and that for someone who will be interacting with your customers is likely to be very different.
There are also a variety of background checks that are utilized, including for criminal records, bankruptcy, etc. These will not ensure that you hire good people, but could prevent you from hiring bad people.
Of course, you may not need any of these if you elect to hire family members. However, hiring family comes with its own set of pluses and minuses. The good news is that you already know their background. You probably also know how they feel about the kinds of issues that are likely to arise at work and their skill sets.
The bad news is that hiring family does not necessarily ensure that you have hired people good for the business. In our experience we have seen it work out very well. For example, our administrative assistant for the past six years is Steve Montgomery’s wife.
We have also seen cases where it has gone terribly wrong. It is difficult to tell a retailer that his father, mother, brother, sister-in-law, son, daughter, etc. is stealing from them, but we have had to do it. b2b Solutions has also seen situations where they may not have been stealing, but certainly did not represent the owner well because of their work habits, the way they dressed, or, worst yet, the way the they treated customers and other employees.
In addition, having family members as employees may complicate not just your work life, but your life outside the job as well. The nature of the convenience store industry means the line between work and non-work is very thin and that work already permeates your life.
When you do get the opportunity to get away, you generally don’t want to spend your time talking about work. However, that may not be possible when other members of your family work in your business. Social gatherings can quickly turn into sessions during which competitors, suppliers, actions of certain employees, etc. are discussed.
Discussions at work regarding you and/or other family members’ lives can quickly be retold outside of work to other family members or their friends. Soon you may find yourself defending what you said or what someone said you said.
Its one thing to discipline or fire an employee, it’s another to do so when they are a family member. After firing your Mom, Sunday dinners will never be the same.
We often say that when you hire someone, you are hiring a person with all the good and bad that they bring. This is certainly true when hiring a family member. Remember to consider both the good and not so good that this may entail before making the hiring decision.
- Human Resources