It's the age old question- should we hire our kids, or let them go it alone? Many parents are divided on this subject. On the one hand, in this economy, giving your kids a chance to gain valuable work experience from a young age can give them a real advantage. So many young adults fresh out of university without the connections or network needed to land a solid job are struggling to get even the most basic entry level positions. Sadly, this is now the nature of the work force. Often if you know someone, you'll get the job, even over another candidate with superior credentials. It may seem wrong, but it's a fact. With this in mind, my take on the subject would be yes, hire your kids. However, there is a fine line between helping them gain experience and get their foot in the door, and making things too easy for them. It's important to make the experience as authentic as possible, and beyond getting them the job, leaving them to their own devices. There are a few steps that should be taken should you decide to bring on your child as an employee, where possible.
Start Practising at a Young Age
It's crucial to help a child develop a healthy work ethic from a young age. By creating a chore system in which they do work for a monetary reward, (allowance) you can begin to establish a business relationship, and also get a lot more done around the house!
Start Them at the Bottom
There's no quicker way to give your kid an ego and unrealistic perspective than to hand them an intermediate or senior role that they haven't earned. (Not to mention a quick way to earn them the resentment and disrespect of their hard working coworkers.) Start your child at the most entry level position and let them work their way up through performance.
Have Them Work Under Someone Else
Allowing your children to work under someone else offers a more authentic experience. They will be more likely to try harder and thus be more productive. Your kids may respect you, but they know you are and will always be their parent. This doesn't set a good foundation for a employer/employee relationship. Once they are in the door, it is best to have as little involvement in their role as possible. It may end up that through good performance they work their way up to that level, but at that point they have earned the position. Obviously in smaller companies this may be difficult, but where possible it is best to keep your distance from the beginning.
Leave Work at the Office
Discussing business at every family dinner can get exhausting, create tension that can potentially damage relationships over time, and allow for negotiation to occur regarding your child's role or salary. It is important to stay in line with the "authentic experience" here and not allow these conversations outside of the workplace. They wouldn't be able to nag their boss about their job over dinner at most other jobs, so why should they be able to here?
Long story short, it can be beneficial for your kids to get their foot in the door in an otherwise tough workforce. If you're in a position to hire them yourself, go for it. The foot in the door, however, is the only assistance they should get. Let them take it from there! There is nothing more valuable than a good work ethic and healthy perspective on life, based on earning your achievements.