Although nearly every church, ministry, or non-profit client I’ve ever known hires their family, I always urge great caution when doing it. Sure – there’s nothing we’d all like better than to hire our spouse, children, or other relatives. The idea of a “family company” sounds great. But in truth, it doesn’t work as well as you think. Entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki is direct and too the point, but worth listening to when he says: “Don’t hire your family. The probability that your spouse or relative is the best person you can get for a job is 0%. The probability that people will hate working at a company with spouses and relatives is 100%. Never hire out of
expediency. Always hire the best person you can get. This usually means not hiring your family. By the way, if you both hire your family and give them a lofty title, you are truly a bozo.”
The key issue is the perception. When everyone in the leader’s family is on the payroll – especially in spite of one or more being incompetent – it destroys a lot of goodwill with employees. Sure there is nothing technically or ethically wrong with it, but it starts eroding employee trust.
Don’t get me wrong. In many cases, certain family members are doing excellent work. So I’m not 100% against it. But I do believe it’s worth thinking about because there are so many stories of failure out there.
I know I’m not going to get family members fired over this post, but I’m writing it to encourage you to at least consider the ramifications. Get out of the ministry family bubble and take a cold, hard look at reality – especially the reality of church members, donors, and employee perceptions. It might just change the way you look at the issue.
Sometimes it’s perfectly OK. But often, it’s a recipe for disaster.
How about you? Have you seen nepotism gone wild?