Family Business: Opportunities and Obstacles
Research shows family businesses generate over 50% of the nation’s GDP and employ over 60% of the U.S. workforce, so in all likelihood, you or someone you know may be employed by a family business. On one hand, a family business offers an inclusive environment working toward a common goal. On the other hand, the combination of personal and professional life can be unpredictable. Before stepping in this direction, it is important to consider the pros and cons.
Family businesses typically thrive off a shared set of morals and values thus harvesting a positive culture that promotes teamwork. Company culture is forthright when selecting candidates to fill open roles, so, a potential employee’s character will likely be considered ahead of the skillset they bring to the table. Working alongside people with similar characteristics, work ethic, and learning styles will increase productivity and employee retention, and low turnover rates are an attractive feat that sets your business apart from others.
Another positive aspect of working in a family company is that your superiors likely work in-house and will be more invested in the success of the business. Therefore, your job responsibilities will be decided based on your availability to complete them. If you’re overwhelmed with your workload, and your superior notices that they may offer to take something from your plate. Don’t ask, don’t tell, may be the name of the game if your superiors are tasking you from another location.
Like Richard Branson said, “Take care of your employees and they will take care of your business. It’s as simple as that.” Typically, family businesses offer a wide range of generational employees which can create a more inclusive environment. Older generations possess the skill and insight that comes from lived experience, while younger generations are often familiar with current marketplace trends, and when joined together, these assets become a collective strength.
Probably the most obvious obstacle in a family business is that somewhere down the line, little Timmy may not want to carry on the family legacy. A generational gap in a family business is like ice cream on a hot day. It just doesn’t work. It threatens succession and can ultimately lead to the impending sale of the business.
Family businesses often fall victim to Nepotism. Nepotism is a form of favoritism in a business when family members are favored over nonrelatives. While it can be challenging balancing family relationships with finding the right person for an open role, a lack of competence at a senior level can have a sizeable impact on that company’s success. Additionally, nepotism can create an environment that will leave your employees feeling undervalued and unappreciated.
Fairness and equality are two main concerns in a family business. Flexibilities such as remote/hybrid work and accommodations for time off needed should be extended across the board, not just to family members. The boundaries, or lack thereof, between family members, can pose a threat amongst non-family members as they may feel less comfortable voicing concerns or troubles they may be facing in the workplace. A breach of confidentiality will cause distrust amongst employees and a toxic work environment.
A family business can pose both opportunities and obstacles for family and non-family members. If you find yourself in a position where you feel looking for a new role might be the right choice for you, submit your resume here. If you are an employer seeking to fill open roles within your company, give us a call at (518) 275-4816. We are prepared to assist in finding qualified candidates to fit your needs.
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