Summer break is in full swing, which means high school students on summer vacation are searching for a way to make a bit of extra cash. Many franchisees take on their teenage kids as business employees, looking to save on expensive summer camps and give kids some valuable hands-on work experience, as well as a better understanding of the family business. Hiring offspring certainly isn’t for everyone. The very thought of having a son or daughter as an employee is enough to make some franchisees cringe. Still, the practice does have a number of advantages. If you want the summer to go smoothly, be sure to take the following pieces of advice into consideration before you agree to take on a son or daughter as an employee.
Make expectations crystal clear. Don’t just bring your child in to “help out.” That’s a recipe for disaster. “Often entrepreneurs are fairly shallow in writing up a formal job description, so they probably tell the child, ‘I’m going to have you do some of this and some of that’ and then they start adding things that the child didn’t know they were supposed to do,” business expert Michael Neuendorff explained. Before you bring your kids into your business to work, sit down and have a frank conversation with them. Clearly outline their responsibilities. Tell them what tasks you expect them to complete, as well as how they should be completed. The key to success is clearly defined expectations. This will give kids more ownership over their work and make for a much smoother summer work experience overall.
Treat them fairly. Treat your children as you would any other employee — don’t go easier or harder on them. “Parents often want to make sure that none of the other employees feel that their child is being favored, so they might purposefully be tougher on the child in front of other employees,” Neuendorff said. And remember, fair treatment also means paying your children a fair wage. Always pay your children what you would pay any other employee doing the same job. This helps kids to feel like they are a real part of the team, instead of just pitching in and lending out a hand.
Don’t overwork them. Teens, especially ones that haven’t worked before, aren’t ready to jump into a standard eight-hour workday. Three- to four-hour shifts tend to be a good staring point. “Unless they have experience working for other employers, they’re going to become bored, tired, or stressed having to work more than that,” Neuendorff explained. It is also important to remember that kids are on summer vacation, so they shouldn’t have to spend all of their time working. And remember, treat your kids fairly. Make sure you schedule shifts in advance as you would for any other employee. This teaches children to effectively manage their time and ensures that they have ample time to pursue other interests and spend time with friends.
Don’t forget about training. Don’t just assume that your child can jump right into work at your franchise and meet all of your expectations. Proper training is crucial for any new hire, even if that new hire is your son or daughter. This ensures that your child knows what needs to be done and how to do it.
Article by Jason Duncan, CEO/Founder of ManagerComplete.com. ManagerComplete is an online software application that helps multi-unit franchises manage operations effectively. Follow him on Twitter for latest updates.