Through it all, the road to success has been challenging and one not often travelled by the majority of business people. Emotions frequently run high. Conflicts can be rife. Managing family dynamics strategically and delicately is vital to ensure the future success of the family business.
Family members and non-family employees
When it comes to family working together in a business, each employee (family or non-family) should have a clear understanding of their role within the business. These parameters need to be firmly established and reinforced.
As much as possible family members should avoid any form of separation between themselves and non-family employees. This will ensure that non-family employees have a chance at salary increases, further training, and career advancement.
Family members should not be given any special treatment. Instead, all employees should be treated with the same expectations and work ethic.
Resolving internal conflict effectively
When it comes to resolving internal conflicts within a family business, communication is king. Communication allows each employee to understand the dynamics of the business and the current situations the business is facing. This is especially beneficial to non-family employees since it reassures them that they are included in the business, valued and integrated into the business.
Being open to change and taking risks, this can be hard for those family members who love the status quo. In this situation, family members reluctant for change can be slowly removed from the business or delegated to a less-influence position within the business.
Business profits can be fairly distributed throughout the family by including business perks such as insurance, pension funds, stock investment plans, etc. Salaries should be based on the current salary for each job position.
By implementing some of these strategies, a lot of internal conflict can be avoided or resolved. This will go a long way to creating a healthy family business environment.
The value of outside management
Since conflicts within a family business affect multiple areas of both the business and the family, outside management or council can be beneficial to resolving conflicts while maintaining business success. By understanding business and family dynamics, an outside manager or advisor often provides a fresh objective perspective.
Outside perspective can assist in financial decisions, visionary planning, strategic positioning of employees, and more. Where family members can often have a biased viewpoint when it comes to business decisions, an outside business advisor gives unbiased and unemotional perspective and advice.
By implementing some of the above strategies and tips, a family business is sure to maintain its successful momentum while dealing with conflicts that arise when business and family mix. Intentionally communicating and working together will create a conducive healthy working environment for all involved.