Nepotism and Cronyism the poison apple destroying workplace culture.

 Nepotism, more than just a fancy word.

Nepotism is when you hire within the family or use family connections and status to get an ahead in the world.  Look at the Jenner-Kardashians, we all know Kylie got her connections from her parents. Commonly, nepotism is found within a family run business, somewhat ‘keeping the legacy alive.’ But, it’s nestled in every business today. You can’t have a business named “Smith and Son” and not expected there to be ‘sons.’


Then there is Cronyism when you hire your best friend or another applicant. The best example of Cronyism is the well known and hard to get into….Boys Club.


Then there is Cronyism when you hire your best friend or another applicant. The best example of Cronyism is the well known and hard to get into….Boys Club.

But you say, how can this be we have HR for that!


There is a strong presence of it who you know, not what you know, but when is the line crossed? With 80-85%  of the job in the market hidden, you could say that these trends are strong and people are keeping it in the family.  The service industry has the highest rates of Nepotism and Cronyism across all sectors, from Law, Communications, to IT.  Thinking you want to be a leader? Better keep it in the family as 40% of the Fortune 500 companies are operated as family-owned with a majority of their board consisting of relatives. It’s not just top dog roles that are filled with nepotism as a UK study found that  72% of students use their family connection to secure internships.



Nepotism and Cronyism goes wrong.

The biggest upset of Nepotism and Cronyism is staff impact. Picture this, you have worked hard over the past couple of years, grown to love your work colleagues and even seen them outside of work! You are a productive bunch until you are told that there’s a new casual in town, the bosses daughter. She has all your hours and be fast-tracked trained.

How does this make you feel?

Screwed over is the most common thought that comes to my head.

One must imagine the episode that will play fourth in the workplace when the culture is spoiled by Nepotism and Cronyism. It’s been known to destroy workplace cultures as staff morale dramatically decreases.

You feel replaced, screwed over and betrayed.

When culture is spoiled productivity drops, loyalty is lost and hope is drained from staff. Staff feels alienated by their limited social connections, i.e. being in the “boys club”. They feel worthless and the whole work place smells of a top down approach to management. Employees quality of work suffers as they no longer trust the company nor care about it. And then there are the high turnover rates, low staff morale and that overall sour scent of annoyance in the office.

When you simply lay it out on the table, Nepotism and Cronyism breaks ethical standards. Most commonly, fairness. Hiring a family member simply because they are a family member, violates the equal opportunity of all applicant.

Nepotism the safety net for rich kids

Nepotism is the safety net for rich kids. Having those family connections, have saved many upper middle-class kids that copped out and didn’t fare as well as expected in Uni.


When it hurts management.

How do you tell her sister, mum or best mate they are doing a bad job? It can be difficult to hold family members or friends accountable in a  business environment. Those performance reviews would be more passive aggresses than a Christmas Lunch. Lack of control and work place bullying can also be leading headaches for management. Employees lose their trust in the company and can go as far as sabotage. I am talking more than taking the free pens at work.



There are ways to combat Nepotism

I hate to say it, but…networking! Nepotism is not going anywhere, so we just have to bite the bullet and pretend to network. It will help you break into that ‘hidden job market’. If employers know your beautiful face they might hire you

Skill up, stay in school kids, it will help. Having the skills and know how will help you stand out and be more important than the bosses, daughter best friend.

Build relationships. Relationship with your boss and other people in the work place, make you more valuable to them.







No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>