It’s not all always one happy family at work. There’s a downside to family in a business that also relies on non-family members. Take for example the case of Sam, a vice president of a rapidly growing company. He was half of a team that had pulled it out of near-bankruptcy to profitability. Sam and the company had a chance at the brass ring yet he left suddenly one summer day and never came back. The issue wasn’t about performance or money it was about relationships. The president had committed another act of blatant nepotism and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. A relationship of trust had been broken and Sam left taking with him the company’s shot at sustained profitability. The president and his relative may have been happy but everyone else in the company suffered. The president’s relative was a passive-aggressive incompetent that almost killed an entire work shift just to prove he had more power than his boss.
Wise executives and business owners are very careful to weigh the disadvantages of nepotism against the greater needs of the company and its employees before hiring and promoting relatives. Successful family businesses often have very clear written guidelines and expectations for family involvement. This structure helps to keep emotions at home and good business practices in the workplace. Any family business that hires non-family members assumes a responsibility to treat them in a professional and unbiased manner.