Nepotism | Meaning and Definition

What is Nepotism?

Nepotism is when certain individuals receive an unfair advantage over other people in jobs or in any type of opportunity on account of being related to someone in a powerful position. For example, if in a company, an individual who is either a family member or a friend of the boss gets special treatment or more opportunities, despite being less qualified or suitable than a non-related employee, then it is an act of nepotism. 

What qualifies as nepotism? 

Some of the prime nepotism examples include:

  • Hiring a relative or friend or someone with a personal reference even when not suitable for a job role.
  • Paying an employee more than others on account of them being related to a powerful higher employee or the boss.
  • Providing extra opportunities to a less deserving employee or only directing all progressive opportunities to a single employee on account of them being related to an employer or someone in a powerful position.
  • Affording extra benefits and cutting an individual extra slack because they are related to someone in a higher position.
  • Promoting an employee solely because they are connected to the employer or anyone in a high or commanding position.

All of these situations directly fall within the definition of the term nepotism. Nepotism in the workplace is quite common, and it can be quite harmful and discouraging to other employees who continually get passed on for promotions and opportunities. While doing something about it in a professional workplace may seem difficult as it can be construed as a step against the employer, employees who feel the presence of nepotism in the workplace must try to contact the HR department and seek resolution. 

Impacts of Nepotism At Workplace: 

  • It can discourage employees are they may feel unfair
  • Resentment between colleagues due to favoritism
  • It affeects the morale of the employees
  • Increase in turnover ratio

How to Handle Nepotism at Workplace?

  • Promote equal treatment for everyone
  • Develop internal promotion structure
  • Create Anti-nepotism policy