Let's say you need a good farm hand. You're looking for someone good with a wrench, someone driven and capable of helping with the livestock. Sure enough a good neighbor friend has a son who is ready and willing to work on your farm. You decide to hire him.
Good idea? Maybe. Bad idea? Most likely.
When a farm operation hires someone related to someone they personally know or someone the business has a relationship with, such as a customer or landlord, there are some inherent risks you must consider.
Let’s say you have a great relationship with that neighbor. The families even socialize together. His son starts working and you realize your new hire is not what you expected. In fact, he is not capable, he moves like a snail and he just doesn’t get the job done. Managing him becomes very complicated.
But now your problems are bigger than simply firing and hiring. Just the thought of having to part ways with the new hire is even more disturbing. All of sudden you don't have the best control of the situation or your business because you now must consider how your decisions impact another relationship.
In the case of that neighbor, the risk is a damaged friendship. In the case of a landlord or a customer, the potential problems are even bigger. You could lose revenue or land contracts.
On our farm, we also exclude hiring family members of our current employees. It is difficult to manage if you have one brother performing and the other not performing. We don’t want to have to worry about those situations or have to put in the exhausting effort to get through them. That is not where we, as managers, need to be focusing our time or efforts. It is vital that we have the ability to develop the best team and manage them well and not be concerned with how business decisions might impact personal relationships.
Is it possible to succeed in hiring someone you have a connection with? Yes, but those risks might not be worth taking. If you are going to go down that path and hire that person, it is essential to lay out their role and performance expectations in advance. That way the employee knows what is expected of them and what steps and actions will be taken if they don’t meet those expectations.