Always hold family employees to stricter standards than your shop's regular workers.
Doing so is the best way to maintain the respect and morale of the entire staff.
Experience has shown that bringing family members into your tire dealership or service shop can be a painful, counterproductive move. Unless you handle the situation carefully and firmly, staff morale may nosedive. Worse yet, family employees who get preferential treatment may — and often do — push out good workers.
When you think about it, your primary family is your spouse and kids at home. Your second family is your staff at your tire dealership or service shop.
Personally, you share the same concerns and goals that your the crew in your business has: feeding, clothing and sheltering family.
Furthermore, unity and good morale are as important to your second family as they are to your primary family. After all, you likely spend more time with your work family than you do with your own blood relations.
Think of each family as a complicated machine composed of many parts (people). If so, then harmony and respect are lubricants that keep the machine working smoothly, reliably.
A moment ago I mentioned experience. I'd wager that everyone — or vey nearly everyone — reading this column has seen an owner or manager bring someone from the primary family into the secondary one. Yes, this means hiring family to work with family.
I'll make a second wager that, in most cases, hiring a family member hurt the business much more than helped it. What's more, I'll make another bet that the very last person to recognize this situation was the boss who hired the person.
Many people suffer from a natural blindness to the foibles and failings of family members. Simply put, they see no evil nor hear no evil from blood relatives — especially their own children.
Arguably, this attitude is someone's personal business, yet the moment it negatively affects people nearby — non-family member workers — it becomes their business, too.
Of course, it's the prerogative of owners and managers to hire and fire as they choose. Over the years, I've heard many bosses boast, “My name's on the building, so I'll do as I please.”
Just recognize that doing as you please — vs. behaving responsibly and professionally — may destroy the business in the end. Or, this arrogant view ultimately limits the business' prosperity and growth.
Over the years, I've also heard countless capable workers with proven track records explain how family favoring family finally forced them to leave jobs.
Today, it's challenging enough to locate capable and reliable employees. So, creating an unharmonious work environment that may drive people away is foolhardy — not to mention unprofitable.
Needless turnover hampers productivity and, in turn, profitability.
Whether you're dealing with your own children or your crew at work, establishing and maintaining a sense of fairness is very challenging. However, responsible parents and bosses work at it daily. At a business, it may be doubly difficult when every eye is on a family member you have hired.
I welcome your comments on this topic and how you may have handled it. But the most successful approach I've observed is where the boss holds family members to a higher standard than others.
This includes unfailingly setting an example for co-workers. If the technicians with the highest seniority are ready to wrench by 7:45 a.m., then the boss' son ought to ready by 7:30. The boss' kid should be the first one to empty all the trash barrels and/or scrub the nastiest floors.
A family member must never complain about working late to finish an unusual repair job or filling in at the last minute for a sick co-worker or some other need in the shop.
Hopefully, these examples suffice for this discussion. The point, again, is that a family member's behavior should never give co-workers cause to suspect preferential treatment.
If your son or daughter considers this requirement intolerable, they're welcome to take their skills elsewhere.