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3 Tips for Attracting Non-Family Executives to Your Family Business

Steven E. Staugaitis, CPA, CVA
Steven E. Staugaitis, CPA, CVA Director, Audit & Accounting, Small Business Advisory Services Group Leader, Family-Owned Businesses Group Co-Leader

Record job openings and a need for talent coupled with low unemployment levels over the past year have contributed to a frothy hiring market. Companies across all industries are facing a talent war unlike anything seen in over a decade. Family businesses are not exempt from this challenge.

Here are a few tips on how to navigate these trying times.

Make sure you understand current market compensation levels.

Although salary isn’t everything, it needs to at least be enough to open a conversation with candidates. Consider using salary survey tools to aid in this assessment. Many advisors have access to paid survey tools and are often able to assist in providing insight and guidance.

Additionally, benefits such as healthcare plans and cost sharing, retirement plans, and leave time have all become important considerations for candidates.

Avoid focusing solely on cash compensation.

There are many non-compensation factors that are important to top talent. For example, family dynamics are an important factor. An informed candidate is not going to walk into a family business where the family is at odds with one another. Family businesses should be prepared to talk about their governance structure – including family employment policies and board structures.

Flexibility has become a key word for candidates as well. The ability to work from home a few days a week or to have flexible work hours can be a very attractive tool, and not offering flexibility may put you at a disadvantage when competing for talent.

In addition, many executives are looking for a seat at the table and would like a voice in the direction and strategy of the family business. It’s important for owners to include management in periodic meetings regarding business conditions, to make sure they have an opportunity to contribute.

You must hire for cultural fit.

Although candidates are moving fast, hiring an executive for the long-term also means making sure they will fit well into your family business culture. It can be tempting to short-cut this step and focus solely on qualifications, but making sure a candidate fits the company’s culture is critical to long-term success.

Developing a well-thought out position description can be an excellent way to close the gap on expectations. Formal descriptions can also serve as a useful guide for those involved in interviewing and, once hired,  can be used as a tool for periodic performance evaluations.

Finally, digging into the reasons behind why a candidate is looking to change roles is critically important when selecting the right executive.

While finding talent in today’s market is challenging, family businesses that focus on being patient and flexible will likely end up being the winners in today’s talent war.


Steven E. Staugaitis can be reached at Email or 215.441.4600.


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Steven E. Staugaitis, CPA, CVA

Steven E. Staugaitis, CPA, CVA

Director, Audit & Accounting, Small Business Advisory Services Group Leader, Family-Owned Businesses Group Co-Leader

Family-Owned Businesses Specialist, Small Business Advisory Specialist, Business Valuation Specialist, Transition/Exit Planning Specialist

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