I am a sub-contractor producing small electronic parts for a bigger company. Among my first few workers are my distant relatives. I am not too satisfied with the way they perform and they tend to be taking day-offs more than I think they should.
I need to hire additional workers at present. Should I hire relatives again? What about relatives of my present employees? Some of them keep recommending their siblings or cousins.
G. Borja, Cavite City
Most small companies employ family members and relatives. There’s nothing wrong with hiring relatives as long as they have the necessary skills and knowledge (and attitudes) for the job and are prepared to work hard. But if they expect special treatment or higher pay or other perks and advantages that the other workers do not have, then you are better off without them.
Why don’t you come up with an employee’s manual, if you don’t have it yet? Distribute it to all workers; explain the rules to them in a meeting; emphasize these would be enforced strictly among the whole workforce without exception. Such manuals, for example, prescribe penalties for tardiness, absences, under-performance and other lapses. Apply these equally to all workers, relatives or not. If you need to issue a warning memo to a relative, issue it. If you need to suspend him or her, do it.
As to employing relatives of your present employees, this can be a good practice but could be tricky too.
The upside is that you will be hiring people whose character and ability are vouched for by workers you already know and trust.
However, there is a downside. Relatives tend to take a leave as a group — during town fiestas, some birthday or wedding celebration, or upon the death of a family member. They may also tend to behave as a “pack.” If you sack or mete out disciplinary action on a misbehaving or under-performing member of the family, the rest may feel disgruntled too.
Therefore your company rules — as spelled out in the employee’s manual — should be clear and strictly enforced.