EMA Partners: The Challenges of Executive Recruitment within a Family-Owned Business

Family businesses play an important part in the economy in most European businesses. For example, in Belgium 45% of businesses are family-owned and more than half of these companies employ over 200 staff.

In most family-owned businesses, the management team is comprised of both family and non-family members, and this can create major challenges. It can be particularly difficult when looking at succession planning if there are no family members either willing or able to take on leadership roles.

Conduct structured and standardised interviews:

  1. Start succession planning early
  2. Take time to integrate external candidates
  3. Ensure robust governance structures are in place
  4. Listen to outside advisors
  5. Evaluate family and non-family members through a transparent recruitment process

The profile of the right candidate:

  1. Family-owned businesses tend to be more informal
  2. Decision making and reporting structures need to be clear
  3. It’s important to be open to change
  4. The right candidate must have a hands-on approach and understand the expectations

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