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.
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 plan to let the friend go from the business. It’s never a pleasant task, and the poor business owner felt sick to the stomach.
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 solve the problem and the employee left the business.
The business owner learned valuable lessons about compliance and process, which has since held them in good stead. While they lost money in the process, they were now free to recuperate the loss by focusing on money-making activities.
We’re not saying you should never employ family or friends. We’re saying to first tick all the boxes, to protect yourself and your business and ensure everyone understands boundaries and expectations.
- Are you 100 per cent confident that your business complies with HR and other legislation? ]
- Do you have the right processes in place?
- Perhaps it’s time for an audit, so you know you’re getting the right things right.