3. Nurture Potential Career Paths
Giving rising generation leaders every chance to succeed serves the interests of all stakeholders, yet the risk of failure can be devastating to the individual and entire family business system.
Being able to effectively leverage the deep commitment and drive of well selected and placed family employees can offer an enormous advantage to the business, the individual, and the family. That’s why establishing a good employment policy and reviewing practices are crucial for successful career pathing of family employees and protection of the enterprise.
Set expectations from the beginning
Having clear expectations and long-term plans for family members’ careers before they join is crucial. There are only so many roles that a company can offer to family members and often the eldest family member may have a head-start simply because they were able to show up first.
This may put the next generation’s older stakeholders in a better position for success in the company moving forward and may cause issues of perceived unfairness with younger siblings who feel they haven’t had a chance at leadership. Have open conversations among all family members about their potential roles and direction at the company so there are no surprises.
Give them valuable professional experience, even if they choose a different employment path
Choosing NOT to work at the family business is an equally important consideration. Training rising gens for roles as engaged owners and directors can be valuable paths for the then, the family and the business. This also allows individuals to pursue their own professional dreams outside the family business. Remember, living someone else’s dream can be a nightmare. Having paths for involvement in the family business outside traditional employment in family business operations gives families a broader pallet with which to engage for success.
Be aware of many of the assumptions that children often grow up with—that they are expected to work at the family business; that not choosing the family business for their livelihood would be disloyal; or, that they have an obligation to ‘save’ the family business in some manner.