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Our client is a family business with over four decades of retail experience, in the process of transitioning from a second-generation sibling partnership to a third-generation cousin consortium. We worked with them to create a family council and draft a family constitution, which included a best-practice Family Employment Policy. When it came time to implement the FEP, they found it was more difficult than they expected.


The FEP included provisions that next-generation family members receive a degree in their chosen field and work for at least 2 years at a non-family company prior to applying for a role in the family business. Preferably, this would be a multinational corporation in a similar industry to the family company.

One of the cousins checked all these boxes – but when she applied to join the business she ran into two obstacles: First, during her employment outside the family company she had learned approaches to her job that were more modern and technologically advanced than the family company’s existing processes. The department she would have been a perfect fit for was overseen by her uncle and he was notoriously change-averse and known for doing things his own way. Further, she had earned a reputation as the class clown during her childhood, and during discussions about the business, her uncle began attempting to undermine her credibility by referencing her childhood reputation.


Through the Family Council, one on one sessions with both the third-generation family member and her uncle, and joint discussions with the two of them, we facilitated a process that allowed them both to communicate their concerns. Our approach centered on a combination of conflict resolution/mediation techniques and data-driven analytics to help bring attention to what would be best for the business while also acknowledging the emotional concerns of all family members involved.

This helped the next generation family member release the hurt she experienced from feeling unfairly judged for her past and provided a platform for her to present her knowledge and build credibility in the family, but to do so in a way that did not dismiss or unnecessarily threaten her uncle. Managing organizational change and evolution in the midst of generational transition is particularly nuanced, and sometimes requires more than just a well-written policy. Sometimes executing a best practice is harder than you think it will be, and when that happens GTA is there to help see you through.

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Family Employment

Next-Generation Development

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