Hiring, Firing, and Retaining Family Business Professionals

Why Family Businesses Need to Hire, Fire, and Retain the Right People

You want adaptive talent in your company – committed and enthusiastic people, developing their skill sets and weathering change like champs. This is a critical component of how family business organizations succeed, by having a solid team of talent in place.

If you are reading this and think, “Wow, it would be great if that is how I could describe my team! My company isn’t performing well though, we have problems with morale, good staff are leaving, we hire people that don’t fit, the work isn’t getting done, revenues are dropping and by the end of this year, we won’t have met our strategic goals. As a family business owner and the leader of our company I don’t know where to start to get this sorted out”.

You see the problems existing in your company, but not the solutions.

Analyzing a problem the same way over and over again and not getting results is frustrating! In my years of experience in both owning and providing support to family businesses, I have learned that talent optimization is more than just doing interviews and performance evaluations. 

To build and retain solid talent in a company, you need data and lots of it!

With data, patterns are easier to identify, the sources of the problem can be recognized, and solutions can then be put in place to get back on track with success. It is a very valuable resource to have the ability to sort out who, what, where, when, why, and how to implement change. Utilizing this process enables any redirection that is needed.

How to Optimize Your Existing Company Talent with Data: The Predictive Index

As a Certified Partner at Predictive Index, I have the training and access to their talent optimization platform, which provides the tools needed to gather and analyze human resource data. Hiring, firing, inspiring, and retaining are human resource processes that can be simplified and highly effective with the use of the right tools.

Gathering the holistic data needed to make well-informed decisions in employee management leads to success. My clients have access to this platform when working with me, where they:


  • Increased revenues
  • Enhanced productivity
  • Top talent retainment

Hiring – What Should I Look for in a New Employee?

Each job is unique. When hiring a candidate for that role, you must consider candidate attributes, in addition to the routine practice of resumes and in-person interviews.

Consider this data – results from a survey of 750 professionals in 575+ companies performed by The Predictive Index in 2017 show:

“When developing job descriptions, less than 50% of companies give a lot of thought to the behavioural traits required.”

“Less than 66% of companies don’t use structured interviews, which help correct for biases.”

 5 tips to optimize your hiring process

  1. To hire the right people for the job, create cognitive and behavioral job targets, and assess candidates.
  1. Gather information that is a complete picture of the whole candidate. Rather than relying solely on a resume or an interview, assessing a candidate needs to include behavioral and cognitive assessment data and strategies. 
  1. Taking a holistic approach to candidate assessment requires data and targets. 
  1. Clearly identifying the expectations of a job role include, looking at job role activities, the temperament, and the social, emotional, and organizational skills required to succeed. Skills, ability, and flexibility to adapt and grow are key factors to assess.
  1. What to avoid: unstructured interviews, interviewer biases and not considering the cognitive and behavioral attributes of candidates. This creates an information gap in job description critical data, that would otherwise predict suitability.

Firing – When is it Time to Let Someone Go?

Following best hiring practices when bringing in new talent, will considerably reduce the economic impact of losing onboarded and trained staff due to a lack of company culture and job fit.

Here is data from the Predictive Index 2022 State of Talent Optimization Report:

“76% of executives indicated they don’t have the right people in place for their strategy.”

“Companies with the right talent have 42% less turnover.”

Although firing an employee is not a preferred experience to go through for anyone involved, there are times when it does need to happen. Dealing with issues early on is key. If the person is a good fit for the family business but wants to leave, do what you can to inspire her to stay on board. Have an open conversation about her desire to leave and why. Can the company offer solutions, such as a change in job role, pay, flexible work schedule, and support if there are team interpersonal problems?

5 tips for how to fire an employee

  1. If the person is not a good fit, don’t put off letting him go. Delaying the inevitable creates more problems and expense when you could be putting your energy into putting the right person in the job role. 
  1. Ensure you know labor standards policies in your locale, and follow human resources processes in place.
  1. Have a conversation with the person (don’t fire him or her via an email or text). Respect and dignity matter for both of you. 
  1. In a family business, tough decisions may sometimes need to be made for the well-being of the company, even if it involves a family member.
  1. There are always options and choices, with firing being the last resort. Working with a qualified family business coach who is trained in counseling, can help you look at the problem in new ways and suggest solutions that people involved in the situation maybe cannot see. A coach can guide you through the firing process if the thought of doing the firing has you breaking out in a sweat!

Retaining – How to Keep Employees Satisfied & Motivated

  1. Management develops from within the company culture. When hiring, choose for cultural fit. You will have longer employee retention and can promote the employee from within, all of which save on the time, expense, and decision-making cost if you brought in an external candidate.
  1. Consistent training methods and processes. Better training leads to retention, as over time trainees can become the trainers. This further develops the company culture retainment of top talent.
  1. Performance evaluation. Managers who deeply understand the company culture are more effective in assessing performance, guiding employees, and building healthy teams.

Conclusion: Building a Solid Team is the Key to Successful Management

Retaining top talent positively affects the company’s bottom line. Long-term employees, who are committed to the family business and its customers, increase revenue through their performance, knowledge of systems and culture, and established relationships with customers and team members. Productivity will also increase. Therefore it is imperative when hiring, firing, and retaining in a family business, to take the time to develop culture-centric strategies, gather data, and evaluate the behavioral and cognitive skills needed to fit both the company culture and job role.

Help is just a phone call away. Through my years of experience working with family businesses, paired with my access to The Predictive Index Talent Optimization Platform, we can get you on the road to talent success!

Connect with me on a discovery call to chat about your specific needs.

Wendy Dickinson

About the Author

Wendy Dickinson is the founder of Ascend Coaching Solutions LLC, a coaching firm that specializes in working with business owners and executives who plan to expand their leadership capacity as their business grows.

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