Running a successful family business with non-family employees


Approximately 80% of all businesses¬†in Canada are family-owned and operated. It’s a popular form of small business, but of course, not all of those businesses are solely staffed by family. In fact, family businesses often experience a high turnover rate of employees outside of the family.

How can your family business maintain its welcoming and inclusive dynamic and extend it to non-family employees as well? How can you avoid an “us vs them” environment? Here are some tips:

  • Make every employee – family or not – feel welcomed, appreciated, and part of the team. Happy employees who love what they do are more likely to band together.
  • All employees should pull their weight, but family employees might be watched a little more closely than others. Make sure that everyone is responsible, respectful, and does good work.
  • Avoid hiring family members who are unsuited to their role. This prevent you wasting time and money, and it’ll demonstrate that you don’t play favourites.
  • Don’t have different rules or expectations for family and non-family employees. Showing favouritism to family members or keeping them more in the loop than non-family employees will only breed resentment and damage morale.
  • Squash tensions before they arise. Make sure all employees know they can come to you with any issues, even if it’s a question about your cousin’s use of the best parking spots. Treat all issues with respect and sensitivity.

Visit GoForth Institute’s Entrepreneur Library for more tips on managing your family business!

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