1. Home time versus work time
It can be very challenging to leave work conversations at work and home conversations at home but if you cherish a normal family life without the stress of work-related issues, then it is important. Hold the whole family accountable to keeping family and business time separate.
2. Non-family employee treatment
Be mindful of the treatment of non-family employees. Fairness is critical. Ensure you engage them in the same way as you engage family employees. This includes things such as inclusion in meetings and
seeking feedback or ideas.
3. Roles and responsibilities
Have clearly assigned roles and responsibilities for each family employee. Use a position description with qualitative and quantitative success factors. Hold family employees accountable to their role and responsibilities in the same manner you would non-family employees. This applies to the Directors and General Manager as well.
4. Pay the market rate
Remunerate the position not the person. Family employees should be paid on merit and the value they bring to the business, not on their surname. If some family members wish to earn more, they can learn how to add more value.
5. Hard conversations
Pick the right time and place for hard conversations but do have them (at work). Don’t bicker in front of staff. It looks unprofessional and quickly destroys the desired ‘united front’ culture. The monthly management meeting is a good place for these conversation types. This format helps with emotion control, particularly if using an outside chairperson.
6. Family brand
Enhance your family business brand. Research shows that consumers have more trust in family businesses. Make philanthropy part of your strategy. It makes your business stand out in the community and strengthens the bond between generations and siblings with respect to the family business values.
7. Don’t abuse family relationships
Family employees must come to work to work. They must adhere to the company structure, lines of reporting, position description, and hold themselves accountable like all other non-family employees. There should be no right of passage just because of a surname. Family members must earn their keep just like all other employees. Jump on this quickly with new family employees.
8. External advisors
Use external advisors as an objective sounding board on strategy, governance and
performance including family employee performance. Develop a robust management structure for both business and family governance. It works.
9. Regular communication
Communicate regularly to both family members working within the business, and other family stakeholders not working in the business. Don’t avoid bad news, and be transparent about your motivations, intentions and reasons. A six-monthly family meeting to discuss strategy, governance and performance is valuable.
10. Succession planning
Prepare the next generation early. Develop a succession plan and ensure it is endorsed by all
stakeholders. Offer training and advancement opportunities fairly across the business as it will help in identifying future leaders.
11. Core values
Family members must not only abide by but lead the core values. Nothing destroys a business culture quicker than a family member not supporting the culture. Again, hold everyone equally accountable and ensure all family employees lead the culture by example.
12. Family charter
Document a constitution or family charter that outlines strategies and rules which can be implemented to deal with family‐related matters that impact on business issues. This becomes the rule book for harmony and prosperity.