Skip to main content

The Role of Non-Family Members

The Role of Non-Family Members

Most families have them, and all families need them. The trusted non-family members who have worked within the family enterprise for many years. In addition to their formal roles, they might be confidantes for family members,  and informal mediators and channels for tricky conversations. They know everything important that is happening within the family. They can also serve as a bridge between the family and rank-and-file employees within the family enterprise.

They are not blood or married-ins, but in their own way they are considered “part of the family”. That has implications for how they are monitored, managed and rewarded. Their high level of trust is a double-edged sword – if the relationship with them ever soured, that could pose a huge risk for the family. They may not ever be rewarded with equity, but for some roles shadow-equity or profit share might be appropriate, as well as the opportunity to co-invest with the family. Understanding their motivation to be “part of” the family is essential in creating a suitable package.

Their role within the family should also be acknowledged by giving them a seat at legacy discussions such as strategy and succession. They can provide very valuable input as an external and can say things at the table that some family members may find hard to say, but that need to be heard.

Consider This: Who are the trusted non-family members within your family group? What distinguishes them from other employees? How are they rewarded for their roles? 

Original articles: 

Here is more on reading on family business governance.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.