Conflicts are part and parcel of being involved in a small start-up or family-owned business. Starting out, most businesses tend to have an informal management style and this can affect the growth and profitability of the business and can keep the business from reaching its full potential, as well as lead to conflicts.
When it comes to conflicts within a family business, they often tend to be more difficult to resolve because there can be different levels of interests in the mix. If your employees are related by blood or marriage, here are some tips to help you keep family conflicts at bay in your workplace.
Don’t Create Two Separate Groups of Employees
If you work with family and non-family members, be careful not to show your family members any special treatment. Be aware that in small and family-owned businesses, special favours given to friends and family members can de-motivate your other employees. You don’t want non-family members feeling like they aren’t entitled to a promotion or pay rise because they’re not family, and this may end up leading towards a large conflict that you are unable to peacefully resolve.
Establish Healthy Boundaries
Set your family and business boundaries early. This is particularly beneficial for copreneurs (husband and wife teams). Running a business with spouses and family members is a balancing act, and agreeing to a system, for example, not driving to and from work together, not talking about work after 6 pm or at the weekend, are great ways to get away from business life for a bit. In general, make it a rule not to work with family members outside of the office and off the clock. If any conflicts arise, they tend to be harder to resolve as the parties involved have experience in interacting with one another, and the disagreements can often be deep-rooted. Always take disagreements into a quiet, private space to work them out peacefully.
Don’t Confuse Family and Business Decisions
Avoid letting family members use company vehicles for their personal use, or using the business services for their personal use. It’s also a bad idea to use personal expenses, such as holidays, as business expenditures. Before you make these decisions, ask yourself what you would do if they were another employee and not a family member to try and avoid any heated arguments between employees.
Ensuring that you have your business priorities in order is essential in running a business with family members. If you are unsure about any part of your business, or just need some advice, then seek the help of corporate solicitors.