It’s an age-old dilemma. On the one hand, you want your insurance franchise to succeed, and you can use all the help you can get. On the other hand, you’re nervous about potentially bringing family feuds into the workplace.
But even if you love and trust your relatives, does that mean you should hire family members to help run your insurance franchise?
Just like many family relationships, the answer is, “It’s complicated.” In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of bringing on family as leaders and employees in your insurance franchise.
What Are the Pros of Hiring Family Members to Help Run Your Insurance Franchise?
There’s no denying that businesses that are run and operated by family members can succeed and even thrive. Walmart, Ford, Cargill, and Nike are just a few examples of major companies that are still run by families.
Here are two major reasons to involve family members in your insurance franchise.
Comfort and Trust
When you have known someone for years, you have a good understanding of their character, including their motivations, strengths, and weaknesses. In other words, you already know which relatives share your values and would make a good fit for certain job roles. This makes hiring relatives much easier than hiring strangers.
Even if you can verify that someone fulfills the technical requirements for a role, it’s much harder to tell whether they’ll be a good fit in your insurance franchise, especially if you’ve only interacted with them for an hour-long interview.
Tip: Before you officially offer the job to a relative, be upfront about why you’re hiring them. You should also point out any weaknesses that concern you. If they’re not willing to work on those over time, then you may have to let them go.
Family-run businesses can offer a lot more work-life flexibility when it comes to responsibilities and obligations outside the workplace. There are usually more opportunities for part-time work, remote working, and working hours. For instance, you can schedule shifts so that everyone can share a common family responsibility, such as caring for an elderly relative or picking up kids from the same school. This would be much more difficult if everyone had different jobs with different locations.
Tip: If both family and non-family run your insurance franchise, be consistent about rules and boundaries. If your brother needs to leave work early once a week to pick up his child, any non-family member in a similar job role should be able to do the same thing if they ask. And if work-life arrangements are getting in the way of productivity, be firm about setting goals and expectations as you would with any other employee.
What Are the Cons of Hiring Family Members to Help Run Your Insurance Franchise?
While family-run businesses bring plenty of unique advantages, they also come with their own unique problems.
Resentment and Lack of Motivation
How should a family-run insurance franchise handle promotions? Sure, it’s easy to give the job to a relative, but if your business includes non-family members, that could make it hard for everyone else to stay motivated and productive. After all, what’s the point of going above and beyond if there’s no chance of moving up? In fact, non-family members in your business are more likely to have a negative opinion of family employees, even if they’re qualified for the job.
On the other hand, workplace-related issues can easily flare into big family feuds if some relatives believe that you’re favoring one part of the family over another for the promotion. In the worst case, you might feel like your promotion decision will lead to resentment no matter who you choose.
How to Avoid This: Set clear expectations about how positions are filled and let your employees know that everyone is subject to the same rules about promotions. If your insurance franchise is staffed by both family members and non-family, make sure that some of the senior leadership positions are filled by non-family.
When possible, involve non-family members in your decision-making process to help overcome any natural biases you might have toward or against promotion candidates.
More Chances for Broken Promises and Hurt Feelings
The great thing about a family-run insurance franchise is that it’s easier to talk about the business in a relaxed environment, like a dinner party or a day out with the kids. But when business decisions become too informal, it’s a lot harder to track who said what and when.
Sometimes, a family member may intentionally want you to agree to something when you’re caught off guard (think about what you used to do when you wanted something from your parents). Most of the time, people simply have different memories of what happened. Either way, the results can lead to disagreements, resentment, and a toxic workplace for everyone.
How to Avoid This: Informal talks and promises are an excellent start, but make sure that every decision is made in writing. For small, day-to-day decisions, it’s usually enough to follow up a conversation with a quick summary email. For major decisions that affect the business’s structure or finances, use a contract that’s been reviewed by an attorney.
If your relatives aren’t willing to commit to a written agreement, let them know politely that you just want to do what’s best for the business and that you’re not comfortable moving forward on a major decision without an official contract. As with any good business relationship, communication is key.
Think Carefully Before Hiring Family to Run Your Insurance Franchise
There’s no simple yes-or-no answer when deciding whether to hire family to help run your insurance franchise. Instead, there are questions that you should ask yourself before making your choice.
Will hiring relatives make life easier for you and the family as a whole? What will you do to overcome the challenges of hiring family members? Finally, how will hiring family members help your insurance franchise succeed?
Above All, Value Your People
Whether you decide to hire relatives to help run your insurance franchise or not, the most important thing is to value your entire team, family and non-family alike. This is a critical element of inspiring leadership and motivation in the workplace, and it’s what helps Confie succeed as an insurance company. To learn more about how we value people and culture, get in touch with us today or call us at (714) 252-2500.