Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

How to Prevent Favoritism in the Workplace

Regardless of the size of your office, favoritism can wreak havoc on the overall dynamic and morale of your company. Managers have to work hard to ensure that their actions do not seem to be favoring one employee over another. While it’s okay to praise one team member for their positive contributions, continually zeroing in on the efforts of one and ignoring what everyone else is doing becomes detrimental. Here are some strategies you can use to avoid falling into the trap of showing favoritism at work:

Remain aware of it

In many cases, favoritism happens simply because a manager is unaware that they’re doing it. It’s natural to have certain employees you connect with well, and others you don’t as much. However, it’s important not to let personal preferences create an uncomfortable working environment.

To prevent this from happening, make it a point to pay attention to how you interact with employees. This heightened level of awareness may alert you to biases you didn’t even know you were displaying. From there, you can alter your behavior to avoid perpetuating favoritism.

Make sure everyone’s playing by the same rules

When an office lacks structure and rules, favoritism can run rampant. To prevent this from happening, make sure that everyone is evaluated on the same rubric. If you’re in sales, employees should be evaluated on the sales they make, and not on whether they share the same interests as the boss. When there is a universal system to evaluate all employees, it makes it much harder to make choices based on personal preference. Instead, it becomes all about the facts.

Remain aware of subtleties

As a manager, you’re always in the spotlight. Regardless of whether you’re in an all-staff meeting or just pouring coffee in the break room, understand that employees are carefully watching your actions. Always remain aware of how you treat your staff members, and ensure that you give them equal time and attention. If you constantly stop and chat with Joe on the way to get your lunch, make it a point to say hello to Lucy and Mike too. Dividing up attention is an important part of being a manager.

Beware of social media

Depending on the environment in your office, you may find that your employees are highly connected to one another on social media. While this can boost camaraderie, it can also cause issues when managers get involved. If you’re constantly “liking” and commenting on a certain person’s statuses, it may be construed as favoritism. For this reason, it’s often smart to steer clear of friending employees.

How do you prevent favoritism in your office?

Lauren Levine

Lauren Levine is a copywriter/blogger who contributes to a number of magazines and websites including The Frisky, USA Today, and others. She also authors her own blog called Life with Lauren. She loves cooking, anything on the E! network, and is trying to convince herself that running isn't so bad.