We work with several family businesses across the UK and they are very different than other corporations. And, although the expected HR tasks are still necessary – including recruiting, staffing, training, development, performance reviews, and employee relations, among others – there are unique challenges in a family business that managers with HR responsibility must prepare for.

You can consider HR in three separate, but related capacities:

  • Control – Oversight and compliance functions
  • Collaboration – Expertise
  • Service – Support

Collaboration poses the greatest challenge for HR professionals in a family business setting. That’s because the expert must earn credibility through knowledgeable advisement and other strategic decisions, gain the trust of family individuals, and operate as a change agent, all while navigating your new, and often unfamiliar, family business culture.

In this article, we’ll discuss how a family business demands a different type of HR service and ways in which an HR professional can better themselves for a family company.


Family Business is Unique, so HR Should Be Too

Family businesses like yours operate on trust and a close-knit circle of individuals who are interested in promoting family harmony, driving growth, and doing so in a way that aligns with organisational culture and values. If an HR professional approaches a family business much like they approach a corporation, they’re doing it all wrong.

Family businesses are inherently two businesses:

  1. Organisation – This is the more “corporate side” of operations that operates much like any other business.
  2. Family Organisation – There’s a second layer to any family business and that’s the family itself. These are the individuals who currently own the business and likely want to pass it down. They’re also the individuals with an emotional stake in the company’s success.

The best approach to family business HR is to account for both players. Doing so ensures that all needs are met and doesn’t leave anything to chance.


How HR Can Adjust to Meet Family Business Needs

With two levels of necessary support, it’s important that family businesses be offered the special services needed to thrive. Accordingly, there are some best practices to keep in mind when you’re searching for an HR professional for your family business:

  1. Strengthen Family Culture – Family businesses often have greater values than corporations and stronger perspectives on them. An HR professional needs to understand these values and be able to use them to their advantage in devising appropriate strategies for training, future staff recruitment, and other essential HR tasks.
  2. Neutrality – An HR professional must remain unbiased to differing viewpoints in the family business. This is one of the greatest assets of outsourcing HR – an outside perspective separate from the family – and should be a high priority of yours.
  3. Basic Strengths and an Innovative Perspective – While you’ll need an employee handbook for your business, there should be special considerations given to the family side of the business. The right HR professional will be an expert on all basic HR functions and be able to custom-tailor solutions to suit your needs.


How’s Your Family Business HR?

If you currently don’t have an HR professional advising your family business or do but he or she is coming up short, you need another solution.

At The HR Booth, we rely on decades of combined experience in a broad range of topics to compile a custom plan for your family business. In doing so, we ensure you receive the special attention you need without feeling as if key areas are going unnoticed.

Learn more about our family business HR services by contacting us on 01383 668178. We look forward to speaking with you and offering a customised solution for your HR needs!

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