Most business advice blogs tend to be full of stale, common sense puffery. My goal, as a guest blogger forÂ Young Entrepreneur,Â is to apply my knowledge and experiences to the discussion of many business-changing decisions young entrepreneurs make or don’t make. Many of these practices are often considered taboo, but I plan to break them down in a contemporary and honest way.
A typical managerial faux pas (coming in at a close second place to hiring your own family), is employing your friends. I’m sure almost all business owners would agree that hiring your friends only adds unnecessary complications to the already stressful and intricate management process.Â That being said, I recommend that youÂ do hire your friends–but do so carefully.Â If you’re going to put your business, employees and customers at risk by hiring a friend, it’s important to understand how a relationship like it can affect all aspects of your business.Â If you are conscious of the following three factors, you may be able to maintain what I would consider the most acceptable employee-employer relationship you can have with a hired friend.
If you’re friends with someone, you should automatically assume that your evaluation of their skills, potential or work ethic is completely biased. I know you think you’re not like anyone else and your friend is the exception to the rule, but you’re not and he or she is not.Â Once you’ve come to terms with this, you can put yourself in a position to more accurately evaluate their performance and attempt to manage them.
Punishing employees is hard enough. Reprimanding friends is even more difficult. Young entrepreneurs tend to have young friends–this means immaturity can ruin more than the professional side of your friendship.
Your relationship with your friend will absolutely cause issues in the workplace. Beyond the more straightforward issues you’re bound to experience (such as suspected favoritism and discipline problems), you should be concerned about your friend’s ability to take criticism or advice from you as an employer and not as a friend.
You certainly shouldn’t hire your friends, but I recommend you do, so you learn why you shouldn’t. Understanding why it doesn’t work is far more important to your business than making one or two bad HR decisions. If you’re aware of the associated risks and potential conflicts, you can minimize your exposure to the friend-related problems that every business owner experiences in these situations. I know plenty of business owners who have hired their friends and swear by the process – I consider them lucky and/or oblivious.
Jared Mendelewicz is the Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of AKT Enterprises, an Orlando, FL based marketing and merchandising powerhouse. Read more about Jared here.