Dangers of Poor Employee Communication in a Family Business

“We turned her down, and later found out she had approached the union, to stage the union drive, in order to win her job back.”

As family business entrepreneurs, we often tend to manage by hunch, figuring things out as we go along, especially in the earlier startup years. Many of the issues we face as our businesses grow; we plod through, without much advice from outside advisors. Surprisingly, most of the time it works out well. For our family business, this time it didn’t.

We had been in business for about 15 years, and our compensation plan was pretty basic; salary plus a holiday bonus. The bonus was pretty much automatic. One year we decided to revise the bonus portion, realizing that as longer-term employees’ compounded wages increased, it was increasing the bonus portion disproportionately. We decided to cap the bonus for the highest paid managers.

One of our long-term managers became upset with the new bonus program and decided to leave the company.

About six months later we had a group of employees, petition for a union organizing More…

advisory boards

3 Habits of Highly Successful Family Businesses – #1 Advisory Boards

Why is it that so few family businesses make it into future generations?

Often the earlier generation in a family business rides a wave of success and everything in the business and family runs smoothly. Like a sports team, when the team is in first place the clubhouse issues are smoothed over, but when the team falls into last place, frustration builds and negativity takes over the team. In an established family business, the issues develop when either the success of the business slows down or the next generation is entering the family business. Everything just gets more difficult towards the end of the first generation’s run.

There are three things that family businesses use to maintain success and smooth the transition into the next generation:

More…