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5 Tips for Working With Family Members

A family business seems like a great idea until you actually start working with your relatives. It's often hard to balance work life with home life when the two worlds begin colliding. However, when you do learn how to work with family members, business life can become harmonious. Here are five tips for working with family members.

1. Address issues early on. Don't let things sit and fester -- this will only make the situation worse. If there is an issue, address it as soon as you notice it. Keep the lines of communication open and make an effort to keep personal issues away from professional life.

2. Treat everyone equally. Don't show preferential treatment to anyone, even if you work with a spouse or your favorite sibling. At work, everyone is an employee and they should all be shown the same amount of respect. Keep public displays of affection away from the business and always remain professional.

3. Be open about the relationships. Don't hide the fact that a new hire is also a family member or even a friend. When introducing him or her to the rest of the staff, be open about the fact that you have a personal relationship with the person. But, also ensure that the new hire gets the same treatment as the other employees.

4. Hire and promote based on merit. If all of upper management in your company are also your family members, there is probably an issue. Only promote and hire based on the skills of each person, not how well you know them. If they are truly the best person for the job, then go for it.

5. Put everything in writing. Legal documentation is even more important when it comes to hiring family members. Present contracts at the very beginning of the hiring process and be very clear about what his or her role will be within your company.

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