Considerations When Working With Family
Working with (or for) family isn’t for everyone. To some, the opportunity to work with loved ones may be the most rewarding aspect of even the most illustrious careers. To others, it can be the thorn in the side to end all side-thorns. Whether or not you’re up to the challenge of working with family isn’t for MNCLS to decide — we’re just here to make sure you cover all your bases should you find yourself in this situation.
If you’re considering blurring the lines between cousin and coworker, son and subordinate, or any other familial-professional relationship, take the following into consideration.
Don’t Bring Work Home
Work is your passion. We get it, it’s ours too! But while professional relationships are obviously important, relationships among family members should come first. By bringing personal relationships onto the job site, you’re already creating a professional gray area — don’t make it even more gray by talking shop at Sunday dinner. Do your best to draw a hard line between on-the-clock time and personal time, and you’ll give both your personal and professional relationships a fighting chance at survival.
Play (and Pay) Fair
Too often with family hires, the process can feel like doing a favor. Maybe your niece is looking for her first job out of college and you’re in a position to give her a career boost. Despite the division of power here, family hires should be treated no differently than other employees. They should be held to the same standards as anyone else, and unsatisfactory work should be handled the same way as with a non-relative. The same goes for compensation: Just because you knew them before they could walk doesn’t mean they should be paid any differently. Fairness will not only be the key to maintaining your relationship with family, but also that of other team members.
Make Sure It’s the Right Fit
You might share DNA, a last name, or even a household, but are they the right person for the job? In today’s job market, there is more top talent than ever before — and installing a less-qualified family member in a vacant position could negatively impact your business. For this reason, you should be absolutely sure that this person is an ideal fit for your business. Interview them the same as you would a stranger, check references, and leave no shred of doubt that they are the perfect candidate for the job.
Don’t Skip the Contract
In the event that working with family comes in the form of partnership, you may feel secure in your decision to shake hands on the deal and get to work. After all, they’re family! While making a blood relative sign a contract may feel paranoid, it’s far from it — and will be the only thing protecting you if/when things get hairy. Going into business with a relative can be like lending a friend money, and you should not take this leap without an expert-written contract which outlines goals, responsibilities, compensation, and dispute resolution.
Working With Family? Call on MNCLS First
Though MNCLS can’t tell you whether working with family will work for you, we can give you the best chance at success. As construction professionals first, our contracts and agreements are written in language every party can understand — and as construction and business law experts, they’re written to protect both you and your livelihood. Working with family is undoubtedly high-risk, but those who have made it work for them will tell you how rewarding it can be.
If you’re thinking of pursuing this path, make sure you do it right with MNCLS.