Nepotism at work is a relatively common phenomenon, especially in small and medium-sized companies. It means employing close people, family or friends in the workplace for the sake of acquaintance with them, not because of their abilities.
Nepotism at work, sometimes called cronyism or hiring after acquaintance, is a very negative phenomenon. It often leads to many problems in a given company, as well as to market disturbance. Nepotism in Poland can be seen especially in the judiciary and medicine, but this phenomenon is also present in other industries.
Nepotism: definition and examples
The term "nepotism" comes from the Latin word nepos, which means descendant. It is worth noting that initially it referred to the privileged treatment of illegitimate children by persons associated with the Church. Nowadays, however, this phenomenon is defined as favoring family and friends in the workplace, e.g. hiring after acquaintances, awarding raises to family members or treating relatives differently. Nepotism is a form of corruption of some kind, so this should not happen at all. The most important manifestations of nepotism include:
- employing family members in the enterprise, despite the fact that these persons do not have the appropriate competences, experience or education - in this case, the recruitment is won by a person known to the president or manager of the company, and not the candidate who was best prepared for the job;
- promotions and raises for family members or friends - in such a situation it is felt most painfully by regular employees who have been waiting for a promotion for many years, and unfortunately it is awarded to someone from the family of the president or manager;
- favoring those colleagues who are related to the owner or manager of the company - this is especially noticeable in smaller enterprises, where the boss grants salary bonuses to members of his family or allows friends to finish work much faster.
Nepotism is therefore directly related to the abuse of power in the company.
The dangers of nepotism
Nepotism is an unethical phenomenon that can raise a lot of controversy in the workplace. It closes the way to employment and promotion for talented people who could prove themselves in a given position. In this way, various kinds of inequalities between employees are deepened. This can lead to an increase in dissatisfaction of people employed in a given company. The most important dangers and consequences of nepotism are:
- difficulties in team communication, lack of trust in the management, conflicts, the formation of subgroups and cliques, as well as denunciations and gossip;
- discrimination of employees who are not related to decision-makers in the company. Additionally, mobbing and the use of a dominant position in the enterprise may appear;
- a decline in employee engagement because they know that no matter what they do, they will not get a promotion or a raise. Subordinates may more often not show up at work or simply leave it;
- lack of a sense of justice in the team, as there are different criteria for awarding rewards and hiring new people - what matters are not competencies, but connections;
- mental consequences for employees - lack of development, emotional blockages, aversion to the employer and his family or friends, reduced enthusiasm in competent people, higher levels of stress and nervous tension;
- consequences for the recommended person (the boss's friend or family): feeling of injustice, reluctance on the part of co-workers, the need to prove one's abilities.
also read: how to deal with stress at work and outside?
Additionally, companies with nepotism may have poorer image and financial results. Such companies sometimes lack talented and competent people, because their place is taken by the boss's friends or family.