Should all family members be given an opportunity to work in a family controlled enterprise?

We maintain the view that all business decisions in family firms should be measured against the following yardstick: What is in the best long-term interest of the business? Clearly, placing unqualified members in management is not good for the business. But family business success often comes at the price of substantial risks and enormous sacrifices (made willingly and unwillingly) by family members. Because of these sacrifices, families in business should feel they have earned a say in the issue of employing a family member even though it is unclear to what degree he or she might contribute to the family enterprise.

A family member should have the opportunity to meet and talk with the person in management so as to determine the candidate's skills and interests, and whether they are a match for the needs of the business. If the family member has potential, the candidate should be informed that his or her job performance will be evaluated by company standards after six months or a year, at which time both sides will have the opportunity to reevaluate the arrangement. The first year should be considered an "experiment" that carries no obligation for either party to continue the arrangement if there is unhappiness on either side. Another option is for the family to offer the candidate a position as soon as he or she develops the skills and talent necessary for completing the job successfully, either through education or by gaining experience elsewhere. We recommended that a family member have two to five years of work experience outside of the family business before entering the family controlled enterprise.