LEADERSHIP / OCT. 09, 2014
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How to Manage Family and Friends at the Workplace

Working alongside family members and close friends can be very challenging. Your personal bonds with these people can have a significant effect on your performance at the workplace. For example, you might find yourself showing favoritism. This could jeopardize your reputation and cause conflicts with the rest of your team. In addition, personal matters are likely to surface at the workplace, thus causing tensions in the team. To avoid these issues, you need to find a way of handling your family and friends in a professional manner.

The following are some tips which will help you manage your family and friends in the workplace:

1. Hire wisely

Before recruiting relatives or friends, consider your reasons for wanting to hire them. Are you just doing them a favor? Or do they actually possess the talent, skills and experience necessary to fit in the role? The hiring decision should be made in a very objective manner. Be sure to choose someone who will embrace your business vales and culture, and actually add value to the team. To avoid being biased, you could consider removing yourself from the recruitment process. Give someone who is not a member of your family the responsibility of making the hiring decision.

2. Establish objectives

Your family members and friends need to understand their role as members of your team. In addition, they need to know what is expected of them. Create a detailed job description explaining their roles and performance expectations. You should also work with them on setting short and long-term goals. Ask them if these goals and expectations are clear and address their concerns. Communicating clearly from the onset sets a foundation for the relationship and prevents problems later on.

3. Create boundaries

To ensure a professional relationship between you and your friends and family, you need to establish boundaries early enough. Agree on the appropriate communication and behavior at the workplace. For instance, you could ask them not to refer to you by your nickname in the office. You could also agree not to discuss personal issues when at work, or work matters when outside the office. However, maintaining such boundaries is easier said than done. When boundaries are violated, have an honest conversation and remind each other about what you agreed.

4. Compensate fairly

Fair compensation for family and friends is very vital. Their earnings should not be based on their relationship with you, but on their position, skills and knowledge. Paying them more than they deserve is likely to cause disgruntlement among the rest of your team. To avoid such problems, you could consult a HR professional to help in setting the salary and benefits.

5. Offer regular feedback

Just like other team members, your family and friends should get frequent feedback on their performance. This will show them where they have done well and what they can improve. So, how do you deal with family and friends that are underperforming? Find out the reasons for poor performance. Is it due to lack of motivation, skills or resources? After identifying the cause, think of how you can help them meet their goals. If they continue performing poorly, then it would be advisable to let them go.

Even though it can be a challenge; managing relationships with families and friends properly will help you avoid mistrust, tension and conflict in the workplace.

 

Image: istock

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