5 Effective Ways to Prevent Nepotism in the Workplace - EmployeeConnect
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nepotism in the workplace, what is nepotism, define nepotism

5 Effective Ways to Prevent Nepotism in the Workplace

Do you want to promote workplace equity among your employees? Preventing nepotism in the workplace is one of the best practices to ensure fairness within the company. You might see that various businesses hire family members, friends, and close relatives to run the same business. There is nothing wrong with it, but favouritism and unfair treatment spread job dissatisfaction among other colleagues.

Nepotism refers to the act of preferring a personal relationship with others for job opportunities. It may negatively influence the organisational culture.

 Are you looking for ways to prevent nepotism in the workplace? This blog is for you. Let’s get into this.

Nepotism Meaning

Nepotism is the unfair use of power to provide privilege and better job positions based on kinship. It occurs when the company leader shows special treatment towards personal relationships. Under their power, the executives prefer close relations over qualified candidates for hiring, selection, promotions and other desirable job activities. They unintentionally foster a toxic work environment.

Are you aware of the dangers of nepotism? The employee’s preferential treatment affects the company’s merit policy and worsens the growth culture. Nepotism in the workplace has a variety of negative consequences. It spreads discrimination and prejudice among the employees. When they feel that their efforts are not appreciated, they look for a better job. It increases the turnover rate, which mitigates the growth factor of the workplace.

nepotism meaning, what is nepotism

Types of nepotism

Nepotism is divided into two main types. One has to do with the hiring element, and the other deals with the employee.

Reciprocal Nepotism

According to research, about 81% of graduates believe that nepotism is one of the major factors in the hiring process. Reciprocal nepotism occurs when the business leaders hire the kin relations and the family members or friends accept the offer for particular reasons. They receive special treatment for financial gains, the desire to improve personal relationships, reliance, and cultural norms.

Entitlement Nepotism

Entitlement nepotism refers to the approach in which the hired relative or known person feels entitled to the job position or other benefits due to the close association with the owner. It is commonly seen in organisations in which the family owns the businesses.

According to research, about 81.4% of the respondents say that nepotism still exists in the United Kingdom and impacts employees at work.

Examples of nepotism

In an organisation, nepotism can take several shapes. From poor management to inequitable practices, it can have adverse effects on organisational outcomes. Here we go.

Desirable workload distribution

The managers don’t assign the workload equally among the employees. Give preference to certain workers and allot easy and desirable tasks. At the same time, others are assigned heavier and less desirable projects. So, the distribution cycle of job activities is uneven, which leads to nepotism in the workplace.

Rapid promotions and upward mobility

In the organisation, there is an act of moving an underqualified employee towards higher positions on the basis of kinship. The boss gives them shortcuts to hit their desired roles. Due to their personal affiliation with the higher authorities, they are provided with more opportunities for fast career advancement.

Boss-employee closeness

The boss spends quality time with only certain employees. He hangs out with a specific circle of his close employees on a day-to-day basis. It is technically against the standards and norms of the organisation. This discrimination spreads the message that the boss doesn’t treat other employees equally.

Mistakes overlooked

Another shape of nepotism is that the boss usually ignores the bad habits of his family members in the business. He gives them relaxation repeatedly. For instance, if his friend comes late to the office every day, he overlooks this habit. But punishes others for the same practices without any warning.

Desired Project selection

The boss allows some employees to have a say in the project selection. In contrast, he is stern toward others. For instance, the manager is biased towards certain employees and gives them flexible working arrangements like desired working shifts.

Channels of feedback

The leader involves some employees in the workshop discussions and shares sensitive information with them. The other team members feel neglected and undervalued.

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How nepotism affects the workplace

Research shows that nepotism has a negative impact on the emotional engagement of employees. In an organisation, when the boss doesn’t treat everyone equally and shows special treatment to certain employees, the rest of the workforce feels demotivated.

Moreover, favouritism decreases employee morale, and he does not perform his duties efficiently. Thus, the quality of work is compromised, and it will be challenging to achieve the organisational goals. Let’s dig into the consequences of nepotism in the workplace.

Hostile work environment

When there is workplace nepotism, and the boss favours certain employees over others, it corrodes the cultural standard of the company. There is a wave of job dissatisfaction, resentment and demotivation among the workforce. Obviously, when the employees feel neglected, they don’t give satisfactory work input. It leads to a toxic work environment that negatively influences the company’s reputation.

Increased employee turnover rate

Employees prefer to leave a job when they don’t feel appreciated. If the boss or manager only admires the work of their relatives and overlooks the efforts of other team members, this unfair treatment coerces the employees to look for another place where they are valued. It ultimately leads to an increase in the company’s employee turnover rate.

Lower creativity and poor performance

When the same people are involved in the decision-making and special discussions, it results in the same conventional ideas. Whereas, if there is a participative approach and everyone is heard in the workplace, it leads to innovative solutions. Nepotism in the workplace leads to less creative working arrangements. Moreover, it also influences the performance and productivity of the company.

Legal consequences

Nepotism is not illegal, but it may have legal consequences. If the boss is biased toward his family or friends, the deserving employee can claim legal action on the grounds of workplace discrimination.

How to avoid nepotism in the workplace

Are you looking for strategies to avoid nepotism in the workplace? You need to adopt the following proven tactics to prevent organisational favouritism. Here we go.

1. Improvise Fair written policy

A written policy plays a significant role in preventing the ways through which nepotism can occur. It behaves like a handbook that sets anti-favouritism rules and standards. For instance, you can include that the relatives are prohibited from working in the same department.

Additionally, you can ensure that family members are not allowed to have a direct say in the workload distribution, financial rewards, or growth opportunities. Similarly, you can add other rules as well. As a manager, you can distribute copies of these policies to the whole department to mitigate any confusion.

2. Create detailed job descriptions

Another tactic to prevent workplace nepotism is to create detailed job descriptions for each position. When you decide to diversify your team by hiring new individuals, you must improvise clear job requirements. It helps you assess the candidate’s abilities against these standards. So, these job specifications help you to provide a fair chance to everybody.

3. Promote transparency in Hiring and promotion processes

As a leader, you must opt for a transparent process for hiring and promoting employees. It reduces nepotism in the workplace and strengthens the organisational culture. When you hire quality individuals over undeserving family or friends, it improves the system of trust-building and transparency in the company.

4. Objective decision-making

All the decisions regarding the hiring, selection and promotion processes should be taken on legal business terms. As a leader, you should ensure fair standards are applied to all employees, regardless of personal relationships.

For this purpose, you can create a senior approval management system for fair decision-making. The involvement of multiple HR professionals encourages neutrality, and fair decisions are implemented.

5. Equal employee treatment

As a boss, you should provide equal treatment to everyone. For this purpose, provide equal growth opportunities to each employee. Similarly, while distributing the workload, you should not favour your family relations and assign equal duties to everybody.

Moreover, you should improvise a fair system of rewards and compensations for all the workers equally. You can reduce nepotism in the workplace by opting for an unbiased attitude towards your team.


In short, nepotism in the workplace negatively impacts the performance levels of the organisation. Favouring personal relationships over job advancement opportunities may lead to a sense of dissatisfaction among the employees. It creates a hostile working environment that leads to increased employee turnover. So, if you are looking to prevent favouritism, you need to follow some strategies.

For instance, you should create anti-nepotism policies for fair treatment of the employees. You must maintain transparent hiring and promotion processes. Manage fair onboarding and compensation packages for all. For this purpose, you must try EmployeeConnect. This is an all-in-one HR software that allows you to manage your workforce effectively. So, what makes you wait? Request a demo now!

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Byron Conway

Content Coordinator at EmployeeConnect