How to Fire a Family Member You Hired to Work for Your Small Business

How do you fire a family member you hired to work in your small business? It’s a very complicated and stressful situation. You hired your brother-in-law, your cousin, nephew, niece, sister-in-law, or even a sibling. And, you probably did so with a lot of enthusiasm. But, it’s been in one unmitigated disaster after another. He or she just isn’t up to the job. Now, it’s come to the point where it’s hurting your business and you can’t continue on any longer. Fortunately, there are ways to break the bad news. Read on to learn about some of the best ways to fire a family member from a small business.

Training versus Termination

If you have given him or her more direction and a little extra attention, that might have been insufficient. It could be that he or she needs a lot more in order to really be an asset. So, the first step to take is to try and fix what’s broken. Make a prioritized list of what isn’t working and address those things first. Then, mentor him or her according to that list, going one by one.
Many entrepreneurs take pride in their ability to provide jobs for their family members, but it can turn sour quickly when the family member doesn’t perform well. Subsequently, firing a family member can cause a rift between the entrepreneur and relatives who are close to the fired family member. And the entrepreneur may feel guilty if the family member can’t readily find work. —The Business Journals
If this isn’t really applicable to your circumstances, consider moving him or her into a different position. Sometimes, people seem like a really good fit for a particular role and simply can’t do the job up to expectations. This might not even be his or her fault, so turn it into an opportunity to reassign him or her to a position where he or she can thrive. If these two strategies will not work or fail to produce any results, you will have to face the unenviable task of terminating him or her.

Most Effective Strategies for Letting a Family Member Go from a Family Business

Sadly, not every situation will work out as envisioned or intended. Sometimes, it’s just the wrong person for the job and there’s no changing the fact that you cannot pound a square peg into a round hole. Here’s some advice about how to fire a family member from a small business:
  • Be prepared to break the bad news in an appropriate way. Even if this person is driving you crazy, don’t let anger be the emotion that causes you to lose control. First off, you’ll probably say something you’ll regret, and moreover, you might come off so angry that he or she will think you were just incensed and letting off steam. Take some time to reflect on what has occurred and make notes if necessary.
  • Choose the right time and place. The most tactful way to engage is away from the workplace but in private. If you do this at your place of business, there’s too much potential for things to go wrong and become an embarrassing situation in front of your employees. It’s best to have the discussion somewhere else than your business — like a neutral, public place — perhaps a restaurant or park.
  • Be honest but empathetic. You need to be straightforward with him or her but don’t make a big speech. Instead, be brief and direct but empathetic at the same time. Then, give him or her a chance to talk and don’t interrupt. If necessary, repeat your points but don’t belabor them.
  • Remain emphatic and stay courteous. It’s very likely that he or she will push back hard and that may cause you to recant. If you begin to feel guilty, that’s a normal emotion. Try to stay pragmatic and be emphatic yet courteous. Don’t let him or her guilt you into making another bad decision.
What other advice would you give people facing the unpleasant prospect of having to fire a family member from a small business? Please share your thoughts and experiences so others can benefit from your input! Interested in learning more about business? Then just visit Waters Business Consulting Group.

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