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4 Problems With Having Favoritism Among Employees

There’s nothing new about favoritism, especially in the workplace. From small business operations to international corporations, there are those who get to the higher rungs of the company based more on who they know and less on their abilities. While it’s natural to express some degree of favor to people who work hard, are easy to get along with, and display a willingness to work well with others, unchecked favoritism can produce quite a few issues. Here are four of the more common problems that can take place.

Morale in General is Low 

Favoritism may be subtle or it may be obvious to most of the employees. Especially when the latter is true, morale is likely to be lower. That’s because those who are not part of the inner circle tend to think that their efforts will not receive the recognition deserved. Why go the extra mile at work when no one will notice? The result is that employees are more likely to do what has to be done and not much else. They are also less likely to consider their jobs to be anything other than a way to make a living.

Team Cohesiveness Is Impaired 

Ideally, employees want to come together and come up with solutions when the company faces a challenge. That calls for teamwork. When it’s clear that certain people within the organization are favored for any reason other than the quality of their work, the team ethic is compromised. People are not likely to participate fully when they know the credit will end up going to certain individuals even when the idea is the result of a group effort.

Unqualified Personnel End Up Over Their Heads 

The company also suffers when unqualified people are promoted to positions that are not a good match for their skill sets. The worst possible scenario is that essential tasks are not completed or are done poorly. Things are only marginally better if someone else has to take care of those tasks, since the person who actually does the work receives no recognition or any monetary rewards.

When it’s said and done, the favored employee gets frustrated because he or she would be better suited for another position within the company structure. The person who covers for the employee is also frustrated about having to manage unassigned tasks so others can get their work done. The danger of both employees experiencing burnout is very real.

Good Employees Don’t Stay Long

Many people work or have worked in a company where favoritism is present. A study conducted by Georgetown University in 2011 found that 84% of the senior executives who participated confirmed that favoritism took place within their corporate structures. That type of activity can have a detrimental impact on how long employees remain with companies.

Those who grow frustrated at being passed over for promotions and watching less qualified people end up in those positions are more likely to seek opportunities elsewhere. As the turnover increases, it’s harder for the company to maintain consistency in core services and is at a greater risk of failure. While businesses can and do fail for reasons other than favoritism, this aspect of corporate culture helps no one.

Take a good look at your business. Are there instances in which favoritism is present? If so, now is the time to curb the impulse before things get out of hand. Doing so increases the potential for retaining talented employees and making sure their skills are utilized to best advantage.