A Family Member Development Curriculum is a key ingredient for effectively bringing in a Family Member Employee (FME) into the business. As I expressed in a previous post, this curriculum yields the highest results when it is developed, monitored and periodically refined by a team that includes: the family member employee, the working parent or senior officer, a business mentor who is not a supervisor, an independent Certified Succession Planner™ and the current supervisor of the organizational department that the family member aspires to work or is working in at the time.

 Before the family member becomes officially employed by the business, there are several pre- planning items that the Family Member Development Team should address which include:

  1. Identifying a business mentor 
  2. Developing  a Family Member Employment Policy
  3. Developing Family Member Performance Expectations.

 Identifying a Mentor

When establishing a mentor for a family member employee, keep in mind, the mentor should not be a parent or direct supervisor, but a trusted business friend, advocate and/or counselor.  Identifying a compatible mentor that the family member employee respects and can trust is essential as the mentor’s role is to act as a confidant, reflect and communicate, not judge or criticize. In the absence of a mentor, the Family Member Employee may become the victim of his or her own devices and potentially alienate employees and managers that they will need to depend upon in later years.  The mentor’s role is important to have identified before a family member’s position, pay and benefits are confirmed because some family members have a tainted view of how a family business operates.   

 Family Member Employment Policy

The Family Member Employment Policy expresses the criteria by which a family member can get a job in the family business and is an extremely helpful tool for the Family Member Development Team to use for pre-employment coaching and determining the optimum role, if any, for the family member.

Criteria may include:

  • Jobs will not be created for family members; they will fill only vacant positions.
  • Family members will be employed elsewhere at least two years prior to entering the family business.
  • Family members must have training and/or experience for the job they fill.
  • Relying on a job in the family business after multiple terminations elsewhere, will not be tolerated.
  • Prior employment performance reviews will influence job assignment.
  • Family members will be paid competitive compensation and benefits.

Family Member Performance Expectations

The Family Member Performance Expectations defines expectations of a family member working within the family business, provides clarification of job performance and responsibility, and promotes enthusiasm and productivity among family and non family employees.

Criteria may include:

  • Think and express we, NOT me: Show utmost respect to all employees, managers, suppliers, and vendors.
  • Endeavor to perform all assigned duties beyond expectations.
  • Gratefully accept compensation and live within your means.
  • Seek opportunities to go outside of your comfort zone. 
Read my final blog post of this series titled, Let Your Successor Experience It All.

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