Funny, But True: Firing Grandma

 

Family businesses make up around 80 to 90 percent of all businesses in North America, according to the Family Business Center. These businesses are obviously crucial to our economy. But working with family members brings its own set of challenges.

For example, how do you fire a family member? Firing anyone can be fraught with legal, economic and morale issues. But when it’s a family member? That can be an even stickier situation. For one, you will be seeing these people again and Thanksgiving dinner may never be the same if it’s not handled correctly.

Dealing with these type of issues is actually a major benefit of working with an outside consultant like me. You may not want to fire your son, daughter, wife, nephew or other relative. But I can, I will, and I have if it’s in the best interest of saving your company.

I once took over a warehousing company that was in dire straits. The company was 120 days past due in payments to the bank. I found out that Grandma was on the payroll, and after doing my research, I discovered her primary task was to knit the CEO socks for Christmas. While that’s a lovely thing to do, it does not contribute to the bottom line of the company. So I let her go.

Not only did I save the company money, I earned the gratitude of the employees. Later that day a forklift driver pulled up alongside me and congratulated me on firing grandma. They all knew she didn’t have a real job there.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having to fire a family member, check out my blog “It Takes Finesse to Fire a Family Member” for tips on ensuring your success during the process. It can help make those holiday dinners this year a lot more enjoyable.

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