Family Member Employee vs. Successor Candidate
When it comes to developing pay plans, there is a difference between a family member employee (FME) and a successor candidate. Sometimes a FME considers employment in the family's business as just a job, with favorable surroundings. They do what is expected of them, show up on time, but their job isn’t the center of their life and they will not try to exceed expectations. A FME will try to make as much money as they can while limiting the hours they devote or the amount of stress they endure to earn a little extra income. They may also have a short suit in judgment, interpersonal skills, or critical thinking ability.
Even some family members with talent simply do not want the responsibility that comes with the “successor” role. So it makes life easier for everyone to pay them – the family member employees – at a market rate for the position they are filling. At a later point in life, the successor role could have more appeal to them. If it does, and if they have the talent, then their compensation should be reconsidered.
On the other hand, a successor candidate considers employment in the family business an opportunity to make their mark in the world and perpetuate a family legacy. They arrive early and stay late to earn the respect of their coworkers and they are not satisfied unless they are exceeding expectations. Money, titles, and recognition are important to them, and they generally portray an attitude of "Just put me in the game coach! I don't care what position I play." Most important, they have demonstrated as an employee for several years that they have the potential enthusiasm, work ethic, humility, judgment, and interpersonal skills to be a successor.
When you have confirmed a successor candidate you should pay them for both the job they are doing and for the effort expended to become a qualified successor. Once they have earned respect from employees and managers, provide a financial supplement for the extra effort they will have to devote to learning how to be a manager and a leader. At this point, their attitude is not in question, they have earned respect and you are not concerned about the opinions of employees or managers when they drive up in a new car or begin to demonstrate a more expensive lifestyle.
The confidence you show in them every day sends a strong message to long-standing employees and managers. This signals that they should join the party or be at risk when it comes to facing their new future manager and leader of the business. This management party consists of those participating in the training, encouragement, coaching, and mentoring to develop a qualified successor.
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