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    10 Replies Latest reply on Jan 19, 2010 8:04 PM by DebbyBlitzLoc

    Hiring an unqualified family member

    jaybird Newbie
      My husband & I own a wholesale nursery business, which he started 25 years ago. We grow nursery stock, and sell through our wholesale yard, and to local cities, landscape contractors, golf courses, etc.

      His 37 year old son is a union carpenter by trade. Unfortunately, he was employed in the Detroit area, and we all know how bad the economy is there. He made some bad financial decisions, and got himself and his family into a hole. He moved to our state in March, and my husband has given him a job in sales for our company. For the first 4 months, he worked around our farm doing much needed carpentry work. Now's the time for him to start selling. The problem is that he has zero sales experience and zero horticultural experience. I feel that my husband is hesitant to try him out in sales, so he has him doing inventory and other tasks.

      To add to the situation, "Junior" has had almost six weeks off in the six months that he has worked for us, is getting perks other employees aren't getting such as a company truck (although he's not driving on sales calls) and a salary about $15,000 over what is should be for someone with no sales experience. In fact, he's being paid only $1,200 a year less than our yard manager, who has been with us over 10 years.

      I think you can see where I'm going with this. We are having a lot of conflict as a family and as a business over Junior. Until about 7 months ago, he never had any interest in our business, or in this industry.
      Has anyone else had a similar situation, and how do we cope? Or I guess me -- because my husband sees nothing wrong with this scenario.
        • Re: Hiring an unqualified family member
          DomainDiva Ranger

          Junior should have never been given perks. When the decision was made to hire him someone should have explained to him what exactly would be required of him. Junior should have never been hired for sales but only for what he would be reasonably able to accomplish well. If he wanted a job from me he would have to start at the bottom and learn the business from the ground up...not the top down as he is doing now.

          I am very sorry your husband sees nothing wrong with this scenario. You are going to loose the business if you don't do something. All of your best people are probably looking at other job opportunities as we speak. I am surprised someone has not said anything directly to you. I would have.

          You may need some outside counseling help to get past this. Love is is business; as a business owner, letting someone interfere with your bottom line just because they are family is inexcusable.
          • Re: Hiring an unqualified family member
            BDS INC Adventurer
            Your husband should give your son a loan, not a job. If you have been in business for 25 years then I assume you have some loyal employees who obviously aren't taken to kindly to your step son's "perks" , lack of experience and all the time off.
            • Re: Hiring an unqualified family member
              lowcountry Newbie
              you and your husband need to talk. be honest and frank with him re: your concerns.
              you might want to ask someone who has experience in working with family businesses to moderate your discussion.
              if JR is reasonably mature, you might get him in on it too. if he is to stay with the business, he will find the discussion, its outcomes and how you implement them a good family business lesson.


              • Re: Hiring an unqualified family member
                Lighthouse24 Ranger

                I hate to offer advice on what may be as much a domestic disagreement as a business issue (you see a problem, your husband doesn't). However, I'll say that the problem you perceive IS real, and the long term consequences of allowing it to continue will be costly. The best employees will leave, the average employees will lose all respect for you and your husband (and they will resent Junior), and the worst employees will be "protected" by the fact that they are probably still outperforming the kid. In addition, Junior will never get the chance to become truly competent at something, and will be deprived of the experiences necessary to develop better judgment and human relations skills than he apparently demonstrated in the past -- or is using now. (Highly competent individuals with sound judgment and decent "people skills" are never out of work for very long - in Detroit or anywhere else.)


                Consider this: Most 14-year-olds want to drive, but responsible parents don't toss them the keys and send them out on their own on Saturday night with a carload of friends at that age. They first ensure that their children have the appropriate knowledge, skills, experience, and judgment to operate a motor vehicle. 37-year-olds (heck, 57-year-olds, too!) can still a learn a lot from the old man if he is willing and able to teach them. Because your husband is serving a dual role -- parent and manager -- he has twice the reason to offer Junior some firm leadership and guidance. I hope he does, and that both your family and your business grow stronger as a result. Best wishes!
                • Re: Hiring an unqualified family member
                  WEBillions Adventurer
                  This is a bad problem. I agree with all of the comments so far. Junior should not have been given these perks. Here is what I would try.

                  You've had Junior around for a while on his specialty, carpentry. Now that those jobs are done (assuming you don't have any other projects for him), you should let him know he has to work his way up the ladder just like everyone else. First this will mean a decrease in some of those perks (since he'll be working in an area he has no experience in). At least reduce the pay, so your other workers don't mutiny. Hopefully, it's not to late.

                  Maybe this will get Junior to think about looking for another job in his specialty. This would really be best for everyone.
                    • Re: Hiring an unqualified family member
                      DomainDiva Ranger

                      Webillions has some good advice. As a matter of fact...all the answers here have been good. Bottom line is you have to start at HOME. Discuss this with your husband suggest outside help if you see it will be needed.

                      About the only other advice I can offer is for you to be firm and stand your ground it's not going to be easy...but your business is at stake...and doing what is right as well by your other employees is as well.
                    • Re: Hiring an unqualified family member
                      Ed O'Gee Adventurer
                      Tell your husband to give him an allowance, not a job. This could mess up employee morale.
                      • Re: Hiring an unqualified family member
                        LUCKIEST Guide
                        Jaybird, A month has gone by since you posted your problems about "Junior".
                        Have there been any solutions over the conflicts?? Hope all is O K with you and your husband.
                        Please let us know, Thanks LUCKIEST
                        • Re: Hiring an unqualified family member
                          ibanku Newbie

                          Family and business does not mix well when you treat your family member like a family member (during business hours). All employees should be treated equally. Other wise, your loyal/hardworking employees will retaliate.

                          If I work hard, I expect something in return. If my boss hires his/her son/daughter and gives him/her special perks because of the fact that they're families, I will leave that company.
                          • Re: Hiring an unqualified family member
                            DebbyBlitzLoc Adventurer
                            As you have been in business for 25 years, maybe it would be best to have some of your most respected and long term employees bring the issue to your husband's attention. This way the issue is addressed but you didn't initiate it first. Maybe if your husband realizes the animosity that is being felt by his long term, trusted employees it will open his eyes to the situation.