Nepotism In The Workplace – The Guide You’re Looking For

Written By Shahzaib Arshad

To deal with nepotism at the workplace is a difficult task. It becomes even harder when you’re at the short end of the stick.

Nepotism has a long history. And the act of giving or getting positions due to relations is still too familiar now.

Even in some places, nepotism gets considered a positive practice and a way of living life.

Yet, some places see it’s a negative impact because of an un-qualified recipient.

How To Spot Nepotism In The Workplace

Businesses get damaged by nepotism, which causes to lessen employee morale and resentment.

In some rare cases, nepotism can have a positive effect. It happens only when the hired candidate got groomed enough in the family business.

Yet, spotting nepotism and differentiating between nepotism and favoritism is necessary.

Here, have a look at some signs that can help you to spot nepotism at the workplace.

There’s a fragile line between nepotism and favoritism. And both of these get worst in the form of discrimination.

1. Nepotism In The Workplace – Under Qualified

Look around to find an unqualified person sitting in a good position. He must be belonging to the manager or an official of the company.

His existence in the workplace is a sign of nepotism. It would help if you talked to the manager to find the reason behind this hiring.

Underqualified People Sitting At Higher Positions
Nepotism In The Workplace – Underqualified

It will be because of the intellect of the person. But there can be a reason behind it; the hired person holds a degree but not the skills.

2. Nepotism Is About Avoiding Responsibilities

Nepotism can get spotted when the family of the manager escapes from responsibilities.

Thinking of no need to follow any discipline, they see the company as their possession.

Such people won’t even follow the rules and regulations of the workplace. They feel free to do anything at their convenience.

3. Nepotism In The Workplace – There Are Unequal Performance Reviews

You can spot nepotism when there are unequal performance reviews in the company.

It means that some of the people get favored treatment. Even the performance review they get is not accurate and fair.

Nepotism Causes Unequal Feedback Distribution
Nepotism In The Workplace – There Are Unequal Performance Reviews

The worst side to this is you’ll get critical feedback despite your excellent work.

While in reality, that family member of the manager deserved this feedback.

4. Nepotism In The Workplace – Valuable Capital Of Intellect

In some rare cases, the hired individual might have the required amount of intellect. He may have learned by living in a business family.

In such cases, the company is getting benefited, and there’s no harm. It’s not a case of nepotism.

5. Nepotism Exists If You get Overlooked

A specific project or came, but your manager overlooks you so that he can assign it to his relative.

Even though you had skills and that person was incompetent. Getting overlooked for a promotion or a pay raise and seeing it go to another person. That is nepotism!

Getting Overlooked Is A Major Sign
Nepotism Exists If You get Overlooked.

However, such a practice makes it difficult for you to recognize your achievements.

6. Nepotism In The Workplace – Showing Unprofessional Behavior

Nepotism exists when a person is showing unprofessional behavior at work.

Taking advantage of being a family member of the manager, he talks rudely to other employees.

Talking back or offensively speaking is a vital sign to spot nepotism.

While the person in power chooses to ignore this behavior instead of stopping it. He does this because of the nepotism he has brought to the office.

7. Other Employees Complaint To You Or HR Because Of Nepotism

One of the apparent signs to spot nepotism is employees complaining about it.

You’ll be more sure about it when employees will complain either to you or HR.

What you need to do is talk to these employees about whatever happened. And make them sure that you heard their complaint and will work on it.

But before you take any serious action, make a record of these events. And find a better way to control it.

Getting Reports And Complaints Because Of Nepotism
Other Employees Complaint To You Or HR Because Of Nepotism

If you didn’t see any change in the behavior, talk to the employee, and understand.

If it doesn’t work too, then talk to the person who hired him to see the next step.

8. Nepotism In The Workplace – Escaping From Punishment

Suppose the family member of the employee doesn’t get scolded for showing up late to work. He doesn’t meet the deadlines and follow the dress code; then, he belongs to nepotism.

That’s because the person in power doesn’t correct his family member and gives him freedom.

He doesn’t hold his family member to the same standard as everyone else.

9. Nepotism Is About More Earning With Less Experience

Equal salary plays a vital role in the flow of business. It doesn’t only help in budgeting but also keep the employee morale up to the mark.

Products Of Nepotism Get To Earn More
Nepotism Is About More Earning With Less Experience

Unequal pay is not a secret, and everyone will know it somehow.

What will happen then? Other employees will get demotivated, and the overall productivity will get affected.

10. Not Following The Guidelines Is A Sign To Spot Nepotism

Your company has a clear, documented guideline book. And these handbooks are for every employee to follow the rules.

But, the products of nepotism don’t seem to follow these rules. And their family member in power ignores it.

Nepotism At Workplace Is An Issue When People Do Not Follow The Rules
Not Following The Guidelines Is A Sign To Spot Nepotism

It’s a vital sign that nepotism is making its way into your company.

You might have to face discrimination by getting disciplined too harshly. That will eventually stunt your career growth.

Are you facing one of the issues mentioned above? You can efficiently deal with it without even having to lose your job.

Ways To Expose Nepotism In The Workplace

These are the tips you need to follow to expose nepotism without hurting your job.

1. Document The Incidents Of Nepotism

If your manager has gone far away in playing nepotism, you should speak to HR.

And if you plan to speak to HR, then start making notes of instances of nepotism.

Make notes in detail with dates, circumstances, and exchange of dialogues. Because general complaints don’t affect like specific ones.

2. Collect The Experiences And Impressions Of The Person

This step needs you to be careful. You’ll have to collect the coworker’s impressions without him getting to know.

Begin with casual banter and then add up other incidents of nepotism into it.

While having a conversation with him, ask him about workplace happiness. Is he satisfied with the workload or the treatment of the manager?

3. Get Yourself Prepared For A Possible Counterblast

While getting someone in the eyes of HR, you must get yourself prepared for the worst.

Make sure your performance is up to the mark before you plan to speak to HR.

You Might Have To Face A Counterblast
Get Yourself Prepared For A Possible Counterblast

You should also expect a possible backlash in case if things go wrong. It might lead to make you a whistleblower; then you’ll have to face the consequences.

4. Schedule A Secret Meeting With HR

Get an appointment with HR and if there are any seniors involved, then avoid any usual procedure.

Take your prepared data with you, and get your words across.

5. Get Yourself Some Therapy

This process is quite energy-consuming and can get on your nerves. That’s why you should get some therapy and alone time to unwind everything.

If your stress level isn’t maintained, you won’t be able to go further.

As you’re daring to call out nepotism at the workplace, it will affect your morale.

Get A Therapy To Treat Yourself
Get Yourself Some Therapy

Your performance and relationship with other coworkers come under threat.

Standing against nepotism is not easy at all. But it’s worth it! It’ll make you brave and confident, and others will see you as a hero.

What Are The Negative Effects Of Nepotism In The Workplace

Nepotism leaves a harmful impact on everyone in the company and the company itself. Here’s a list of adverse effects nepotism can go on the workplace.

1. Brings Down The Employee Morale

A workplace that has nepotism in it reduces the morale of employees. You’ll get dissatisfied with your job and have a negative opinion about the company.

If one of the employees starts showing low morale, others will follow. It will eventually cause a lack of loyalty and dedication to the job.

2. Makes The Work Environment Unhealthy

When nepotism takes birth, employees start to feel undervalued. It happens when a manager gives the perks to his family member and outlooks the others.

Nepotism Creates An Unbalanced Working Environment
Makes The Work Environment Unhealthy

The manager gives responsibilities to their family member so that they can learn.

It results in causing feelings of anger in employees towards their manager.

3. Increases The Turnover Rate

A company that allows nepotism to occur will have to face the increased turnover. That’s because talented people will start looking for a job somewhere else.

The company will get in trouble as it will lose the hardworking and intellectual people. And the success of the company will get threatened.

4. Decreases The Productivity

Nepotism causes a decline in productivity for different reasons.

A manager allows his friend to a position for which he doesn’t have experience. It results in a slow-paced working environment.

Nepotism Lowers Down The Morale Of Employees
Decreases The Productivity

Another reason is higher-ups hiring their close ones at helpful positions.

Other employees who had been working hard to get that position decreases their morale.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Sue For Nepotism In The Workplace?

Yes, if your preferential treatment with your relatives is visible. Other employees can sue you, and you'll have to face a lawsuit for discrimination. The government prohibits workplace discrimination based on race, gender, and ethnicity.

Why Is Nepotism Not Allowed In The Company?

Nepotism isn't allowed because it gives birth to conflicts of interest. It leaves a destructive impact on the employees and destroys the company's productivity. Potential employees leave the company because they think there's no room for growth.

Is Hiring Friend Nepotism?

Nepotism is the act of preferring family members or friends while hiring for the job. So if you're giving favors to friends or family without regarding merit, then it's nepotism.

Why Do Employers Opt For Nepotism When Hiring?

Being an employer, you might want to hire a friend or family. That's because you know their weaknesses and strengths and their potential to do work. In comparison, a stranger you never met before doesn't seem a better option.


How people respond to nepotism at the workplace depends on the qualifications of the person. Transparency of the process also plays an important role here.

You should deal with it if you ever find yourself in the workplace surrounded by nepotism.

Don’t let your job satisfaction and career growth go in vain. Also, ask your manager to assess the skills and qualifications of all employees once a year.

It will help to form a transparent image of the workforce.

Leave a comment and let us know what do you think about nepotism.

Last Updated on 2 years by Shahzaib Arshad

Shahzaib Arshad
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