Are your employees full of empty promises?

The scene:

Owning and running your own business can rewarding. It’s hard work but glorious when everything’s going well. You’re on target to reach your goals. You have money in the bank. Life is good.

Then you realise you need another staff member. You take the easy way and employ a family friend. You pluck a number out of the air for what you’ll pay. They’re thrilled and you think you’ve solved your problem.

Everything is going well until the ‘family friend’ starts acting like they own your business. They start telling you what to do, when to jump and how high. ‘Hang on a minute,’ you ask yourself. This wasn’t supposed to happen, and now things are very, very awkward.

If this has happened to you, as it did to one of our clients, it’s time to act.

The solution:

Often the best approach is to get the support of an efficiency expert to help you focus, and quickly. It’s critical because this scenario can become toxic and stop you from focusing on billable time, new initiatives and doing what you love most.

We sat with our client and asked these straightforward questions, that only took 10 minutes to work through. Here are the questions and answers:

  • Do you have an employment contract in place? No
  • Does the employee have a position description? No
  • Did you conduct any reference checks? No
  • Do you have a copy of their resume? No
  • Do you have a copy of their qualifications? No
  • Did you check the award to ensure you’re paying correctly? No

That’s a lot of negative answers and to make matters worse, the ‘family friend’ promised to put proper HR procedures in place. They didn’t.

As efficiency experts, we help businesses be compliant, including in HR, and make shifts that drive big improvements. We focus on working through what can be realistically achieved and support implementation. Then we work with clients to review, refine and celebrate.

In this case, we couldn’t celebrate until we had formulated and implemented a straightforward plan to terminate the friend from the business. It’s never a pleasant task, and the poor business owner felt sick.


Armed with our knowledge of legislation and the Fair Work Act 2010 (Cwlth), combined with our HR skills and years of experience, we developed a step-by-step approach to eliminate the problem. The employee left the business on cordial terms, but not without putting a dent in the owner’s bank account.

The friendship is no longer, which is sad. The business owner learned valuable lessons. While they lost money, they became free to recuperate losses by focusing on money-making activities.


  1. Before employing family or friends, protect yourself and your business.
  2. Make sure everyone understands boundaries and expectations.
  3. Be 100% confident that your business complies with HR and other legislation.
  4. Consider an audit, so you know you’re getting the right things right.


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