According to a recent poll, almost a third of bosses in small organisations admit that they show favouritism to particular staff members. The survey was conducted by HR consultancy Reabur and has revealed some telling insights into workplace attitudes. With favouritism rife amongst Britain’s small businesses, is it time to check for bias in your senior management?

A strong work ethic was cited as the most common reason for workplace favouritism, while for more than a quarter (27%) of respondents – it was simply because they ‘liked the employee’s personality

Another 18% said that company loyalty was a reason for favouring certain workers. Some non-work related attributes, such as a good sense of humour and personal appearance, were also revealed to be causes for favouritism.

Unfortunately, favouritism can be detrimental to a working environment and can have a negative impact on your other employees.

Individuals can soon feel disgruntled and unmotivated if their contributions are consistently being overlooked in favour of a preferred employee. In many cases, line managers may not even realise they’re favouring certain members of their team.

Favouritism can also result in a lack of diversity in the workplace, with bosses sometimes recruiting in their own image and failing to fully acknowledge talent from other backgrounds and diversity strands. This will not go unnoticed by employees in an organisation and if it’s left to continue – satisfaction and engagement levels are bound to drop.

To truly measure favouritism, it’s important to hear about it from the horse’s mouth – so to speak. It’s crucial to listen to all employees throughout the entire organisation to get a handle on their general contentment and identify any problem areas. The 360 degree appraisal can be a useful tool in pin-pointing pockets of favouritism in a business so that they can be dealt with fairly and effectively.

Favouritism may certainly be beneficial for some individuals, but for the most part, it’s merely a catalyst for disharmony and reduced productivity.

Elva Ainsworth
Managing Director
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