Nepotism, meaning playing professional favourites, is a word of the town lately. In fact, many people out there learnt this word after the whole gung-ho and endless spat between the famous director and female actor.
Nepotism is an old daunting reality. In earlier times, kings entrusted their kingdoms to their children, popes got succeeded by their most heedful disciples, and generations of business personalities still dedicate their success to their last names and the legacy of the family trade. While we read about this in news but we don’t realize that sadly, it is creeping in many organizations, be they are small or big ones. The friends and the relatives are favoured with new jobs, promotions or higher career opportunities, regardless of the merit.
Some of the regular nepotism instances many of us have witnessed
You might see some ‘friends’ of HR managers or seniors who stick with them with an intention to be favoured in case of rainy days. As a result, many times, such people get an unfair advantage over others. In tough times, many diligent resources are dropped and ‘friends’ pass the fire shrine even with lower performance. Somehow, these ‘friends’ always get good performance reviews and great opportunities to plunge on.
Haven’t you experienced something like brother-in-law of a VP becoming a sales head that too only with one interview process while the other candidates had to go through at least four rounds to make it to the final one? So, this nepotism benefits the relatives and friends getting jobs over many other candidates who certainly have the stronger education background and work experience. In fact, even when the hired relative is the most qualified one among the other candidates, it does give an impression of nepotism.
Nepotism at the workplace has a lot to do with the business structure. Some entrepreneurs consider it better to partner with family members in order to control the operations rather than having a formal standing and taking a risk in the involvement level. In such scenarios, the growth of an employee in the firm is limited. The hard working members with great experience are over taken by the fact that it is pre-decided for the future generations or the family members to be part of the upper crust.
We have quite familiar and accepted examples where family members have got a leverage to get top positions in some of the largest companies. For example, Akash Ambani and Isha Ambani are acting as Chief of Strategy and Director at Reliance Jio Infocomm. It's quite sure that otherwise, the giant group wouldn't have appointed limited experienced young employees for such powerful and critical positions. Lord Wolfson, the son of its former chairman is the chief executive of famous retailer in the UK, Next. Rahul Gandhi, son of the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and grandson of the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is the general secretary of the Congress party. There are more experienced veterans who can endorse this position much better. We have many such told and untold number of live examples which tells that the relationships come first and have the upper hand on the experience and skills.
Many talent acquisition teams hire the known people around in order save the cost for recruiting or training. It is believed that the close ones are supposed to be highly committed to business and organization growth. But in longer run proves to be a big problem for HR management as well. The employees who manage the relatives of the employer find it difficult to handle them and take corrective action, if necessary.
The subject has become sensitive and it is a big silent threat which may have ripple effects. When the knowns are given key opportunities, bypassing other dedicated employees with capable merits, it upsets their morale. It can make them feel insignificant about their contributions towards the business goals and realize that all the efforts have been brushed away. This apparent unfair practice creates an issue while maintaining decorum and workplace discipline. To make things worse, an organization might have to suffer from a high level of the attrition rate.
Given the myriad of issues that nepotism can create, it’s wise to steer clear of any kind of favouritism.