Tag : business leadership

Considerations for Hiring Family

hiring friends and familyYour affiliate business is booming. You’re stretched thin and need someone to help you get everything done. Or maybe your want to invest in your affiliate site, but need extra hands to implement all the necessary changes to get your business to the next level.

So, where do you turn for help? Well, if you’ve been a solo operation, the first place you might look is to family, friends or maybe even your spouse. That makes sense, since these are people you know and trust. However, there are some things you might want to consider before hiring someone from your inner circle.

Location is not a Skill Set

Perhaps you live in a very rural area and know that means finding qualified employees is unlikely. You might be right. Major metropolitan areas have more people, and thus, more workers with skills you require. However, hiring your unemployed BFF simply because she needs a job, you have a job, and she lives 2 miles away, isn’t a good reason to do so. There are plenty of ways to manage and work with remote employees. A new hire doesn’t need to be in your area to do a good job.

Previously Established Dynamics

There’s no one you can count on more than your mom. And while she’s been there for you through the highs and lows of your life, her role has probably been that of a cheerleader, supporter, caretaker, nurturer and even a friend – not an employee. Think about what it’s going to be like for you to have to give specific directions, set deadlines, and review the performance of your mom or husband or sister. Depending on personal dynamics of any relationship, you may find it hard to change long established roles. And that friend or relative might find it difficult to view you as their boss.

It Can Get Emotional

It can be hard to take the emotions of any relationship. But if you hire a friend or family member it’’s hard to claim that anything that happens at work is “just business.” It might be hard for everyone involved to separate their personal and work entanglements. People tend to take things personally and your success (or failures) could make for a messy emotional work environment. That’s bad for business.

Perceived Favoritism

Down the road, if you need to hire even more people, having a relative or friend on staff may cause problems. Other employees may think that person gets more favorable treatment or has insider information. That can cause resentment and create discord among your workforce.

There are times when affiliates have successfully grown their company into a family business. It takes a lot of work and requires some finesse to navigate the challenges. But it can be done.

Here are a few basic tips for making it work:

  • Have a well thought out job description that objectively clarifies what knowledge, skills, and duties are required for the available position.
  • Make sure the compensation is in line with the person’s skills. If they are being trained for a job they’re not currently qualified to do, their title, position and wages should be reflective of that.
  • Create a path for their success by giving regular performance reviews and raises inline with their performance.
  • Treat them with the same professionalism you would any other employee.
  • Have a heart-to-heart talk with them about keeping personal and business separate.
  • Provide an opportunity to receive feedback and suggestions for improved workplace dynamics. Open lines of communication need to flow both ways to create mutual trust and respect.
  • Even though they are a friend or relative, consider having them sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect your business.

Employing a close friend or relative can help you grow your business as long as you’re willing to offer them the same workplace professionalism that you would extend to any other worker. Plus, having someone who has your back can go a long way in the success of your business.

Crisis Response for Small Business Leaders

By Lisa Riolo

crisis management

It’s Monday morning, October 2, 2017. How do I respond to everyone today? How do I lead on a day like this? Because today will be different than most.

Our agency is headquartered in Las Vegas. Several of our clients are also in Las Vegas. The community is suffering. We’re all upset. We keep reassuring family and friends that we’re “safe.” But are we ok? We again check our social media feeds hoping to understand what happened last night. We’re exhausted.

This past Monday involved tragedy, heartbreak and fear. Again. It wasn’t the first time our screens were filled with stories that overwhelm. Just weeks ago it was not one, not two, but three epic hurricanes halting business as usual. And there will inevitably be future days that challenge our ability to perform.

Leadership in business is hard during times of intense distress. The people around us react in unpredictable ways; they’re fragile and sensitive. A well-intended comment may ignite unexpected anger and accusation: You did what?! An ordinary request is suddenly totally unreasonable. Plus, those same inconsistencies happening around us, are also happening within us–making us off kilter, too.

So, how do we proceed with our professional obligations? When do we get back to normal? What is (and what’s not) appropriate?

There isn’t a right-right answer. Nor is this post intended to spell out step-by-step what to do in a crisis. Partly because a response to hardship may call for the exact opposite of telling others how to act or what to think. A morning like this past Monday’s is less about expressing opinion or giving advice and more about acknowledging what the people around us are experiencing.

Acknowledgment is Key

By listening and responding to our customers, our partners, our vendors, we’re letting them know they’re not invisible. Acknowledging their responses to a tragedy–without trying to ‘fix’’ things–is a great way to react. On days when we are dealing with so much human tragedy, we might want to eliminate big proclamations and directives. Or avoid comments that begin with “You should” or “Here’s what I think…”

Chateau 20’s Chris Park put together a thoughtful message on behalf of one of our Vegas-based clients that was sent to affiliates and partners. It involved a request to pause any paid ads or promotions for one day. Chris’ words struck the right tone. He emphasized people first and then shared our client’s request. When I read what he wrote, I  immediately felt like I’d just gotten an understanding pat on the back.

Another recipient came back with a very different reaction to that same email. Instead of a comforting gesture, their response felt like a slap. Maybe I misunderstood their reply? My first thought was to confront that affiliate. Fortunately, our founder and CEO, Karen White cautioned everyone to let the apparent insult go.

I still considered logging in to expire that affiliate’s insertion order. But even without Karen’s good advice, I probably wouldn’t have acted on those thoughts. It’s better to pause in times of stress. I inhale a little deeper and exhale slowly. I listen more carefully. I consider other perspectives and plausible alternatives to what just happened.

But I am not perfect.

Even when making a concerted effort to be on time, I’m rarely punctual. So me saying I was late for everything on Monday means I was super late. I was also impatient. And tired. And frustrated with everyone and nobody in particular. I kept forgetting to ask “How are you today?” which was all that mattered. All day I felt not myself.

Then I remembered THIS leader recognizes when she too is experiencing the same heartbreak as her clients, and team members and neighbors. We behave differently on days like Monday. And that is okay. We just do the best we can.

There are no best practices for leading your business during a crisis or national tragedy–except to simply acknowledge our shared pain with kindness and grace, and patience.