Workplace Nepotism

Nepotism refers to a situation where merit, qualifications, ability and experience are not considered within the recruitment process and people are hired as a result of their relationship or connection to someone in the business. It is common for this to occur in the private sector and is particularly prevalent in family businesses.

The following would generally be considered nepotism:

  • Someone is chosen for a position or promotion simply because they are a family member and not the most qualified. They have been given an opportunity over someone who is clearly the better fit.
  • The favoured employee is not reprimanded despite poor performance or bad behaviour such as making mistakes, missing deadlines, showing up late, breaking the rules, etc., and not being reprimanded in any way.
  • A particular employee may be given special treatment or adhere to different rules and regulations than other employees. This may extend to better work assignments, more ideal shifts, or sought-after projects despite not necessarily deserving them.
  • The workload is not distributed evenly. It is an example of favouritism when family members or friends are given less work than others of the same position.

While nepotism itself is not illegal, it can still lead to discrimination claims or complaints. It does not go unnoticed when employees are looked over for promotions or are not hired in favour of someone who is clearly underqualified.

It can result in higher employee turnover. When employees don’t feel they are being seen or feel that they are being treated unfairly, it is no surprise that things sour quickly. If employees see that underqualified people are getting hired or promoted in their stead or privileged employees are treated differently, this may create morale issues and result in disgruntled staff leaving.

In companies large and small, success is dependent upon employing a highly skilled and competent workforce and on this basis, it is always good practice to go through a full selection process with all candidates, regardless of their relationship to the business owner.  Who knows, they might be the best candidate anyway!

121 HR Solutions is running Interviewing, Hiring and Onboarding workshops on 18th July in Montrose and the 19th July in Glasgow. To reserve your place, click here: Events for July 2023 | 121HR Solutions – Glasgow

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