Q: Is it ever OK to hire a friend to work in my company?

A: Hiring a friend to become part of your business team can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, he or she knows how you communicate and understands your quirks; their loyalty to you as a friend will likely carry over to the work they do. On the other hand, your friend isn't always going to agree with your approach to business, especially when something goes awry.

When considering friends for positions in your company:

  • Ask yourself: Are they really the best person for the job? Don't ever create a job around one person. Instead, define the job and then find the person with the skills and attributes that the job requires.
  • If your friend really is the right person for the job, fully communicate your expectations and set boundaries between your work and personal relationships, making sure he or she can handle the leap from being a friend to also being an employee.
  • Be 100% clear about the need to treat all your employees the same, no matter who they are.
  • Formulate an agreement that says either you or your friend can terminate the employer/employee relationship without it affecting your friendship.

Only you can decide if hiring a friend will benefit or hinder your company's success, and, as the leader, it is your responsibility to think before you act.

—Clay Nelson is a business coach to contractors nationwide, www.cjenterprises.com.