Summer Jobs at the Family Business

The Wall Street Journal just posted an interesting article about the types of summer jobs kids hold in the family business. Though not always glamorous, these jobs can provide the next generation with first-hand experience in working with and operating the family enterprise.

While the opportunity for personal growth is great, there are a few ‘rules of engagement’ to follow by both parents and kids to ensure that the summer job is a successful, productive and learning experience. These include:

  • Set the Entry Criteria Early
    The entry of younger family members – even on a temporary basis – is best achieved when the criteria have been set well in advance and agreed to by major family stakeholders. Entry criteria typically include: age; how hiring will occur; position; hours; standards to which the family member employee will be held; compensation; and, lines of reporting. Keeping the criteria neutral and not focusing on one individual keeps it a lot safer and ensures a sense of fairness for all members of the younger generation.
  • Decide Which Level Is Best
    While it was typical of past generations to enter the business from the ground up (often literally), we’re not convinced that’s appropriate for all members of today’s younger generation.  Much of that “entry level” experience is better gained outside the family enterprise.
  • Establish a Process for Feedback
    Because summer employment often whets the appetite of family members for longer term and even permanent positions post graduation, it’s important that the experience is accompanied by a feedback process so the employee can get a candid evaluation.  We highly recommend a 360 degree process.

Using these tools, you can help your younger generation learn the ins and outs of your family enterprise, while also helping to save for those semester textbooks on the side. To read the full article from The Wall Street Journal, please click here.

Talk back!
Tell us what you think – do have you had younger family members working at your family enterprise over the summer break? If so, what practices did you put into place to help make it a successful experience? What advice would you offer other business owners? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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