There are not many things more pleasing than a great relationship with a family member or a friend. In many cases, these are the relationships that will allow one to cross the barrier of formality into the realm of familiar, or even intimate communications. These barriers are hard to reconstruct when the relationship turns into a business relationship. Be it a co-worker circumstance or a supervisor-employee relationship, the transition from familiar to formal can be tricky and quite complicated.


Quite often, people reference friends and family when seeking new employment. As tempting as it may be to put a familiar face on staff, there are a few points that need to be practiced to avoid an irreparable relationship breach. Each new hire directly reflects the person who either hired or referred him or her. A family member or friend can soil his or her reputation and the referring family or friends’ simultaneously. Both parties should be completely aware of the proper process for employee conduct. If there is a conflict, the first reaction of upper management is finding out who is responsible (for this conflict) and where did the accountable person come from (who referred or hired him/her).


Job Description

Job duties and performance guidelines must be clear to the referred employee. Operating under implied or assumed guidelines is a disaster waiting to happen. It is challenging to misinterpret a clearly written job description. The referral should have a personal copy of the job description provided before acceptance of the position. He or she should also be required to read the job description and acknowledge the comprehension of the details with a dated signature. This action protects both employee, employer, and the referring friend or family member, as each party operates within the written guidelines.



The respect factor is a non-negotiable element within the new business relationship. Respect is fundamental especially if the referred employee is subordinate to the referring employee. Everything from receiving assignments to accepting management decisions (even unfavored ones) should be met with a level of professional dignity at all times. Unless it has been voluntarily revealed, other employees should not be able to ascertain there is a more personal relationship (between the referred employee and the hiring/referring employee) beyond what is displayed in the office.