Favoritism in the Workplace? Here is How You Can Avoid it?

How can you avoid favoritism in the workplace? Read the blog to get tips to overcome this very important human resource issue.

Favoritism can be seen in all fields of life. However, having favorites in the workplace is hazardous. Managers tend to favor one over the other, and thus they need to be alert and aware of this. A survey by Georgetown University shows that 84% of senior business executives believed that favoritism is happening in their workplace. This favoritism can be real or perceived, subtle or overt. Employees who feel they are ignored or unfavored can hurt the company culture. It can lead to hostile work environments. Such employees may also proceed for legal action if they are feeling discriminated against. Favoritism is a human resource issue that needs to be tackled. Here are a few tips to help you overcome this issue.

Keep lists

The same as the human tendency is to favor someone, it is also the human tendency to forget. Managers may become unaware of the number of times he/she may have given a promising assignment to a particular employee or asked them for lunch. Even if you haven’t taken notice, the other employees definitely would. Keep lists of all your employees and keep a tab on the favors you have done for them in any way. Check periodically who you may have missed in recognizing. That doesn’t mean you have to recognize someone in a mandatory way. If an employee is not doing well, do not go and recognize or appreciate them for the sake of doing it.

Find common ground with your employees

Get to know your employees and try to find a common ground with them. It may be difficult to find a common ground with all your employees, but it is possible with little effort. By getting to know your employees and creating a rapport with them, you can help stop any unintentional favoritism from seeping in. Begin by having small talks with your employees. You may talk about sports teams, about favorite movies, or anything that seems interesting to both of you.

Get an honest broker

Having an outside perspective and point and view is always helpful. This applies in avoiding favoritism too. You can ask a colleague of yours to observe your actions and management skills and see if you are favoring anyone. This step can help you be accountable for any signs of favoritism. You can ask for feedback from your colleague and act accordingly. Having the opinion of a third party can help you refocus your energy and attention in the right areas.

Be transparent

Transparency in the workplace reaps so many benefits. It will always be fruitful for the company if there is transparency and open communication between employers and employees, and even between employees. Be open about why you are choosing a certain employee for a project or presentation. Give the reasons why you have made such decisions regarding the employees. Let them know that you are trying to balance their workloads. You may also open conversations asking if anyone feels that they have too much or too little on their plate. You may also set meetings where employees can share their ideas and views. Giving them this voice boosts their self-esteem, productivity, and performance in this workplace.

Make mutual expectations

For efficient performance in the workplace, managers must communicate what is expected from the employees. But make sure that these expectations are mutually agreed upon and are realistic and practical. Ensure that everyone gets equal chances to deliver a good job. When communicating expectations, employees will know the factors on which they will be recognized. You should also be aware of the expectations your employees have too.

Remain aware of it

Awareness of this issue makes all this a lot easier. This is because in most cases favoritism happens simply because the manager is unaware of what they are doing. Personal preferences should not intervene in the working environment. Managers and leaders must pay attention to how they interact with employees.


Favoritism and nepotism affect employee motivation, engagement, teamwork, productivity, communication, and creates mistrust and resentment between the employees. It can also hurt the company culture. People may start to feel that no matter how hard they work, they will never get the same attention from their manager. A biased manager does not allow his/her team to grow and reach its full potential.

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Hanan Ashraf
A strong believer in the power that words have over people, Hanan works on producing content that is creative but at the same time graspable for readers. A content writer and digital marketing intern, she loves to write about automation, HR, performance management, and employee wellbeing.