Experts agree that if you can avoid working with friends it is usually for the best. But if you must, here are some ground rules and tips that will help prevent a work relationship from destroying a personal one.
Susan Adams, recently shared this Forbes.com article, “When A Close Friend Becomes A Workmate.” Insights from her article along with my own experience, here are 6 tips on how to hire or be hired by a friend and the company and relationships still flourish:
- Ditch the drama and shoot straight. Ambiguity is the root cause of all conflict. Anything left unclear will cause conflict. Before entering into a business relationship, friends should discuss their expectations, clarify their roles and set boundaries.
- Separate feelings from professional needs and goals. You have to learn to say, “I love you, and no.” One rule both friends must agree upon: Business comes first. Feelings and personal issues must be put to the side in order for your business relationship to function correctly.
- Listen to how they talk about others. A good gauge of whether a friend will work out as a colleague or employee is to look at how accountable for her actions that person has been in the past. When something goes wrong, do they spend time talking about the role they played, or do they try to get you to agree with them about how the world or other people were conspiring against them?
- Money heals all wounds. For an underperforming friend-employee, provide an extremely generous severance package. Or you can offer a reduced work schedule for the same pay, to then lead to a phase-out.
- Understand the pros and cons. Hiring friend is a double-edged sword. The things that make you good friends (trust, loyalty, compatibility) can also strengthen the business. Just remember, it’s easy to allow emotions, previous experiences together and jealously to tear your friendship apart—and in the process, destroy the business too.
- Use your strengths. Women are usually more relationally oriented than men. Use your ability to communicate and sense the needs of others to address issues before they have time to blow out of proportion.
Read Susan’s complete article, When a Close Friend Becomes a Workmate