Your friend has been out of work for a while and now there is an opening in your office. You honestly feel that hiring your friend is the best choice your company can make. You don’t have to check references – you are a reference. But before bringing your friend aboard, keep a few things in mind if you want to both preserve your friendship and keep peace in the workplace.
Don’t play favorites
Your staffers are well aware that the new hire is the boss’s friend. You can’t avoid speculation on whether the friend is getting a higher salary. But if the friend is getting better assignments, scheduling or office equipment, everyone will know soon enough. And they are not likely to be happy.
If you want your staff to feel as if they are in an office where performance is more important than schmoozing, treat your friend the same way you treat everyone else.
Make sure your friend understands that you are the boss
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It can be awkward when a friend ends up taking orders from another friend. But if you or your friend has any discomfort, refer back to the first point – career coach experts say don’t play favorites. Even if your friend was the boss at his previous job or if he usually calls the shots in your friendship, you need to be his boss and he needs to be your employee, or the hiring could cause problems both in the office and in your friendship.
Don’t put unfair expectations on your friend
If it’s well established that you are the boss, and you are not only not playing favorites but bending over backwards to avoid any appearance of favoritism, your work relationship could end up abusing your friendship. Maybe your friend becomes the one who ends up having to work late or come in on Saturday.
Because of your long friendship, you may unwittingly place extra emotional burdens on your friend in the workplace. If you are used to seeking her counsel in times of crisis, you may summon her to your office when you are having a bad work day, preventing her from getting her work done. You may embroil her in office politics when she would be better off steering clear of them.
Separate personal and professional
As best as you can, keep your social activities with your friend separate from the work relationship. Everyone needs time away from the office, and neither one of you wants to feel as if you are still at work when it’s supposed to be a fun night out. And if you are always wearing the boss hat whenever you get together socially, your friendship could suffer, which won’t do you any good in or out of the office.