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What is nepotism? 

Nepotism is the act of intentionally favoring family, friends, and other relatives. In simpler terms, nepotism is a form of favoritism. For instance, let’s say Mr. A has been invited to serve as a judge in a prestigious firm’s competition. Coincidentally, Mr. A’s cousin is one of the finalists in the said competition. Mr. A decided to ignore the official scores and named his cousin as the winner. This is nepotism because the decision was not based on official scores and merit. 

In the workplace, nepotism can occur when a person who holds an executive or managerial role uses their power and influence to hire family members who are otherwise unqualified for the job. Nepotism can also take the form of promoting an employee as a mere favor, without objectively considering if they truly qualify for the promotion. 

Nepotism can have damaging effects that can hurt an organization. Not only will nepotism create an unhealthy work environment, but it can also lead to employee dissatisfaction, decreased employee engagement, and morale. 

If you feel that some decisions of your managers or leaders are questionable and qualify as nepotism, it is best to talk to a member of your HR team. For employers, it is your responsibility to avoid nepotism and uphold fair and objective hiring and promotion practices. You can draft an anti-nepotism policy and include it in your company’s code of ethics and handbook.

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