18 months ago I hired my niece
I spent alot of time thinking through this decision, and did not take it lightly. I decided that given how young she is, I would have her answer the phone and do administrative duties with the hope she would show aptitude for an area of the business, and we could further train her.
At first she was green. 18 years old, what can you expect? But she had a willingness to learn and once we took her mobile phone off her during work hours, she started to become more involved, more committed and hungry to learn as much as she could.
Ashleigh (my niece), is drop dead gorgeous. She has lived a great life and travelled extensively with her parents. I would go as far as to say that she is spoilt but in a good way. So is my dog, so I am not throwing stones!
When she starting working for Marketing Eye, I knew that the team may be hesitant to say things in front of her or include her. They were. But over the past year or so, they have learned to let down their guard. Not only has she never "talked out of school" or "dobbed on her peers", she doesn't have any other conversation with me other than about family and tactical things she does at work. In fairness, given that she is family, I would kind of expect her to... but she doesn't and probably has never had a reason to.
She has an office of people that are seriously talented and have been with Marketing Eye for some time.
Of late, I have been having these gushes of pride. I am talking complete, utter pride in what she is achieving. She may be young, but she is determined to not only do her job, but do it better than anyone else before her.
Ashleigh manages my Twitter account and I have to say that now she is in a position where she is better than me at Twitter. The witty, insightful and inspiring tweets that she sends out are better than what I could have done so myself. She learned Twitter from Marketing Eye, but then she took it to the next level by finding bloggers who wrote on Twitter and read their material. She then applied it to what she is doing.
This is her favourite part of the job and it shows.
Hiring a family member has perks; she does do things for me that I can't really ask someone else to do. She has more empathy for my life and knows when to keep her head down or just walk up and give me a hug. She goes over and above for me in organising meetings and making sure that I am fully prepared.
There hasn't been a downside yet to having her work with Marketing Eye. No-one has complained and I have reinforced that there is no favouritism or special treatment (except on birthdays!).
Keeping her interested has been easy. She is a self-starter and her new-found passion for social media has seen her put 110% into her role and kicking goals not only for ourselves but our clients.
I seriously, couldn't be more proud at the moment. Is she the future CEO of Marketing Eye? I don't know the answer to that. She is still learning and developing her skills. She is currently studying not just marketing at University, though human resources as well which she enjoys immensely. So let's see.