Sometimes, I have faced the fact that married couples, brothers, cousins etc work for the same company at the same floor.

All of them are qualified and do their job with no problems. However, in the past when someone left the company the next few days another followed him/her and resigned.

Despite the skills, relations may not be about being professional.

Should a company be hiring such people?

Does this depend on the company size?

Does this affect the working environment?

What should I do in the future?


All of them are qualified and do their job with no problems.

In a situation like this I don’t see why a company shouldn’t hire such people. I have seen married couples, fathers and sons, etc. working in the same department, sometimes in the same team, and it has never created work related problems. I myself married a colleague, we both worked for the same organisation for more 20 years, divorced during that time but this didn’t affect the work or the relationship with our colleagues. I contacted the boss before the divorce and asked if he prefers me to look for a job somewhere else. He preferred me to stay and was right – there was no disruption whatsoever.

If you are worried about more than one employee leaving the company at the same time:

  1. The other person might not leave. Actually, if the first employee left without any bad feelings (found a better job, had to do it due to circumstances not related to the company), then there is no reason for the other family member to leave too. If they have a shared budget, it might be just the opposite – it is wise if one of them stay put and have secure income, while the other one goes through the changes. If the first employee left because there was a conflict, felt unappreciated/underpaid/unhappy, and the second one left out of loyalty – well, the employer should take better care of the employees.

  2. It might happen with employees without any family ties. What are you going to do then? A good manager should be prepared for such situations.

The hiring policy might depend on the company size. In general the bigger the company, the heavier bureaucracy is. It is more likely to have restrictions about hiring family members in large organisations with multilevel hierarchy. In small companies, where everybody know each other, it is often seen as a benefit for the company’s image, if a current employee brings a family member to join the workforce. It is usually pointed out to visitors that “X is one of our oldest employees, he has been with the company for 25 years, and recently his son started working here”. It implies that it is a good place to work, not only people stay with the company but they also recommend it to their nearest and dearest.

What you should do depends on what your position in the company is. If you had troubles with family members leaving together, maybe you should analyse why this had happened and think how to avoid it in the future.

  • You bring up a good point. You are not guaranteed that any given employee won't leave your company if their friend/wife/husband/son/bff/daughter/ect leaves the company first. Each employee should be hired on their own merits, if they are the correct person for the job, then thats who should be hired.
    – Donald
    Jun 5 '14 at 16:03

I don't think it matters. Every situation is different, but I think it is hard enough to find good people, so why put additional contraints like not hiring, spouses or relatives of emplyees.

  • Would you rather have an employee who has to leave because of their spouse's job at another company where you have no control?
  • People tend to be satisfied with jobs when they like their collegues (the surveys our out there).
  • Anyone can get in a dispute, so I don't think couples and families are more likely than any other coworkers.

I'm sure everyone has some sort of annecdote about some people at a company who were related and created all sorts of drama, but I'm not convinced that is the norm.


Hiring friends, family members, etc. whom are all qualified isn't a bad thing in itself. Often you can count on those people to come with a certain level of compatibility (thought there are exceptions) anytime some quits or is fired there's a chance others will follow them friends and colleagues do that and companies should plan for that.

(I can say for a fact if one of my colleagues was fired I'd quit, not even because we're friends. I tend to be the instigator of change for the better here and he's my backup/interference. Without him backing me up this whole thing will regress back to the stone age.)

The only time hiring friends and family is a problem is when it becomes a situation where the friends/family are given preferential treatment causing people less able to simply incapable of doing their jobs being promoted due to their social standings rather than their actual abilities. (But this problem can exist anyplace where a boss plays favorites)


It depends on the company. Some companies like to hire people in "batches." More to the point, if this company takes a liking to one person (e.g. the boss is Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway) they may want to hire as many "similar" people as possible. Relatives and family members of this one person are the "obvious" choice.

Other companies (mine for instance), feel the exact opposite. They want "diversity" of people, not clones. And they would shudder at the idea that a group of people would join or quit a company together because they are family members. Such a company would try to avoid hiring people in "clusters" to the extent possible.


I'd rather have two competent relatives working with me than me having to deal with an incompetent CEO. I am saying that because I have worked with incompetent CEOs, who drove me close to the edge with their antics.

Two competent relatives leaving the firm is probably no more nor less disruptive than two friends/colleagues leaving the firm. The entire IT Security Practice of one of my former employers including myself as Acting Director of the Practice synchronized our notice of departure to take place on the same day. How disruptive is that? Needless to say, the CEO's idea of forcing us to participate in his lead generation contest on pain of getting fired - we were willing to generate the leads but we didn't want to participate in the leads generation contest because we thought it demeaning to us as professionals - didn't seem to him afterwards like the hottest idea since sliced bread.

You shouldn't hire anyone that you are not capable of firing. While the words "relatives" and "family" come to mind, so do the words "significant others" and "friends". And no one should be referring family, significant others and friends to the firm if they aren't prepared to accept that their family, significant others and friends can be fired for poor performance. I have a CEO acquaintance who fired his best friend - Their kids are playing together, even as we speak. I have no doubt that my little brother would have no compunction about firing me if I were on his team and I turned out to be incompetent - and that's just the way I want it and like it. And I expect my best friends to act in the same way. As the Russian proverb says "Friendship is friendship but business is business" And right now, we are doing business. As the Godfather may have said "Nothing personal" :)

You might object that if you run into one of the relatives, you could get into trouble with the other. You could get into the same trouble if these two people are good friends. And you don't seem worried about friends working in the same firm. If you are worried about friends working in the same firm, you might as well be your own employer and if one of your employees becomes your friend, you might consider firing either that employee or fire yourself from your own firm.

Large firms may have rules restricting family members and spouses from working say in the same department but it depends. I think we all agree that it may create an appearance of conflict of interest to have friends and family to do each other's performance reviews but there are ways to manage this issue including getting multiple reviewers to sign off on the performance review, or have the friends and family recuse themselves from doing the performance reviews.

What you want to do in the future is strictly up to you. You can live with it and stay. Or you can review your other options including transfer out of the team, group, department and departure from the firm. If you own your own firm, you can set whatever rules you want as long as these rules pass legal muster.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .