Approximately 70 per cent of businesses in Australia are family operated. Working with family can provide many challenges, especially around the holiday season when it is a struggle to prioritise the profitable running of the business and taking some time off.
So how can family run businesses ensure they meet everyone’s needs while also ensuring business remains profitable? For each business the answer can be very different.
Ensuring proper business and HR processes are in place, no matter what the ownership structure, can be part of the solution. For example, when a member of the family wants to plan a holiday, ensure all stakeholders are included in the possible outcomes and management solutions to ensure the ongoing running of the business. This includes consideration over how the position will be filled when the family member is on leave and discussing the logistics of what will need to be done.
Key tips to reduce headaches at this time of year include:
- Ensure policies and procedures are developed that clearly outline expectations around leave and other HR matters;
- Clearly discuss with all family members and staff the expectations and opportunities around Christmas leave;
- No matter how difficult it can be to tear yourself away from your business, don’t overlook the importance of taking time off and having a break; and
- Take the opportunity to implement or trial your succession plan.
For those working within a family owned business who are not members of the immediate ownership circle, be prepared to be flexible and to negotiate when requesting time off:
- Request leave through the appropriate channels and follow the procedures in place;
- Be prepared to offer different date options;
- Be proactive in thinking about the work that will need to be covered and how this could be undertaken; and
- Be understanding of the business and empathetic in the sense that it may be too difficult to take time off on your preferred dates, especially during busy periods.