Business

Nepotism Isn’t a Dirty Word | Why I Trust Family

In order to mitigate risks, large companies become inflexible and impersonal. Avoiding the risk of discrimination is accomplished by discouraging nepotism. But, at FlagandBanner.com, we feel a societal duty to support our employee’s families and train the young. So much so, that our employee roster reads much like the book of Numbers in the Old Testament.

Currently, our production manager, Diana, has a son working in sales; our senior salesman, Kirk, has a son working in our gift store; our website development guru, Arwen, has a son working in shipping; and my husband and three of my four children work in sales and marketing.

The benefits of hiring from within are obvious: 1) You know your new hire’s family ethos. 2) You build a caring culture. 3) In hiring my children, we’re planning for the continuation of the business, which brings job security to the people that work for me.

When approaching retirement age, a small business owner has only a few options; pass on the business to the next generation, sell the business, or dissolve it. My parent’s small business had no buyers and none of their children wanted it. So, they worked out an exit strategy for dissolving the business over many years. (For an in-depth discussion on how to retire from a small business, listen to financial advisor Barry Corkern on Up In Your Business Podcast number 0012.)

You might wonder, “How do you manage your employee’s offspring without making the parent mad?” I have found that it is a non-issue. When the rules are clear and the consequences fair, parents of the newly hired generation are fine (even happy) that someone else is the disciplinarian for a change!

As for hiring your own children…well, that can be trickier. I could write a book on that subject! And if I compiled all my years of blogging on the subject, it would probably fill one. The biggest tip I can give you is don’t hire your child right out of college. They need to spread their wings, grow up and learn from someone else for a while. When they are older, appreciative and more experienced, the time will be right to hire them.  My daughter and I learned this lesson the hard way. I wrote about it 14 years ago in my blog, bannerisms.com/my-business/nepotism/ . She is now 38 and working successfully at FlagandBanner.com. The second biggest tip I can give is try not to watch. Look away, sit on your hands and button your lip, if you must. It’s hard, but you must give them the freedom to learn. Most of the time, that means making mistakes. The good news is that a doozie of a mistake will teach them more in an instant than hours of lectures.

So, try throwing out any preconceived negative notions you might have about nepotism. Be flexible, enjoy your small, family-friendly company and (for your own sanity) look away!