Results from On-boarding Survey

Last month’s Family Business Advisor (FBA) article touched on the process of ‘on-boarding’ new employees in the company.  We asked readers and our advisors to comment on a few questions based on their experience, and we are summarizing what we heard.  Please note, we cannot draw any scientific conclusions from this exercise – rather, it is food for thought & perhaps further discussion…

1) When asked if family businesses were better, worse or no different than other companies when it comes to ‘on-boarding’ employees, more of our respondents suggested family businesses are likely ‘worse’ or no different.  A couple of interesting caveats: first, the vast majority of our colleagues (all professional advisors to many family businesses) responded ‘no difference’ to this question.  Second, if we look at some of the comments from readers, we get a sense that some family members may have struggled with their own on-boarding because of the high degree of scrutiny that can come from being ‘the boss’ kid…’ – which also aligns with the answers we got to question 2 below

“Worse when onboarding a new employee who is a family member, not necessarily worse when onboarding non-family employees”

2) When asked who had a better ‘on-boarding’ experience, family or non-family employees, both readers and FBCG advisors tended to weigh in on the side that non-family employees had an easier time of this.  One reader’s quote adds some depth to the opinion:

“We have hired many more non-family family employees so the process is more standardized and doesn’t involve the extra complexities that can exist when bringing in a family member.”

However, an interesting ‘counter-view’ (that it may be easier for a family member to onboard) is captured in this quote, which speaks to the family benefit of familiarity:

“When I joined the business I already knew many co-workers and senior management, from working there over summers and company functions/picnics where the family has been involved.”

3) Finally, when asked to rank the importance of certain ‘best practices’ around on-boarding next generation family employees to the business, both the readers and the FBCG consultants came up with the same relative hierarchy.  A few comments underscored that all of these are important or valuable, but when forced to rank, the following order emerged, starting with the most valuable:

1) The new family employee works outside the family business first
2)The new family employee starts working at the right job
3) The family employee reports to a non-family member
4) The family employee participates in the same performance feedback process as other comparable employees
5) The company board is actively involved in the onboarding of the new family employee

We deeply appreciate everyone’s participation in these ‘mini-surveys’ and hope readers gain some additional insights alongside us as we seek to hear from readers about their lived experienced with these complex topics.  We hope to continue to send out questions to our readers and are always looking for innovative ways to engage folks in the dialog.  As always, if you are interested in learning more about how the Family Business Consulting Group, Inc. may be a resource to you and your family, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Gratefully, the Family Business Advisor


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