Family Employment Policies – Part II

Purpose of the Employment Policy

The purpose of a family employment policy is to set out the procedures, process, and criteria that will govern how members of the family enter and exit from company employment. Long-term, the goal is to remove ambiguity and to help any family members who would like to join the business to shape their careers accordingly.

Employment Policy

The process of crafting a family employment policy presents an opportunity to write and communicate not only a formal employment philosophy, but also values that the family holds important. David Bork, a recognized leader in the family business field, provided the following opening statement that could be suitable for many family businesses:

“We are committed to family members being responsible and productive citizens who practice a positive work ethic and make constructive contributions to the community and the company. We believe that family members employed in the company must occupy legitimate positions, and possess skills matching the requirements of their particular jobs.”

The family employment philosophy should go on to explicitly state that it will be the ironclad policy at the company to find and hire people who are qualified, not merely related to the business’ owners. Set out the general guidelines for those employees, at all levels. Most successful family businesses take the attitude that the opportunity to be employed in the family business is a privilege, not a right gained by birth or by marriage. State clearly and, if necessary, bluntly: Family members who cannot meet the required standards will be happier employed elsewhere.

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