Various organisations have their own rules about hiring people who know each other.
For example, some companies do not allow staff to be romantically involved, while others reward employees for recruiting friends or acquaintances to the job.
There are definitely positives and negatives to working with friends, which we will explore in this article.
Trust – It is difficult to trust new hires as they are people you just met. It can be hard enough to have faith that an individual you do not yet know well will give the same effort to the job as you do. If that person needs to have a position with a lot of responsibility, such as dealing with finances or clients, you need to be able to extend your trust even further, hoping that party will be honest. However, if the employee you are looking to hire is a friend of yours, you do not need to have these worries as that person already has your trust, otherwise you would not be friends.
Knowledge – When hiring a new employee, you never know what you are going to get. Is the individual as competent as he led you to believe during the interview process? Does she have a personality that will fit well with your corporate culture? Unfortunately, only time would answer your questions unless you hire a person you are already very well acquainted with. You will already know your friend’s true experience, as well as his or her personality, giving you foresight into how well the individual will fit into your team.
Lack of Respect – As a manager, your employees likely respect and defer to you as the leader in your department. However, you may likely not attain the same level of respect if you hire a friend to work for you. A long time buddy can bring the same casual and friendly interaction style that he or she shares with you to the workplace, which may make you or your employees feel uncomfortable. Prior to hiring a friend, make sure to have the conversation that the office is a place of work, and all friendly relations should be left at the door.
Risk of Losing Friendship – Perhaps the biggest negative of working with friends, and the main reason while most people choose against it, is the risk of losing the friendship. No matter how knowledgeable and trusted the person is, there is always a chance that working together will not work out. While you may know the person very well as a friend, you have likely never seen him or her in a professional role, and once you do, you may not like what you see. If you decide to terminate the professional relationship, that can also lead to the end of the personal one.
There are many positives and negatives to working with friends. Hiring a person you are already comfortable with and know can foster trust in the workplace.
However, a friend will not likely treat you like the authority you are to the other employees.
It is important to evaluate all the aspects of the decision before committing to it.
Head of Training
Originally published: 24 April, 2015
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