IT Best Practices

Technology Company Workplace Favoritism

Unless we are talking about favorite lunch snack or favorite work soundtrack, favoritism is unwelcome in the workplace. Phil Morettini addresses the issue in tech companies in an article for Business 2 Community. He gets at the root of where the damage occurs when the problem exists.

Favoring Risk

It is inevitable that some people will get along better than others at work. This only becomes a problem to Morettini when one of three situations occurs: (1) An employee develops the perception (unproven) that someone is receiving special treatment from a manager. (2) A manager legitimately, unequivocally provides special treatment to one employee and not others. (3) Outright nepotism exists—basically a more extreme version of (2).

Morettini believes in rewarding employees who do well, and for that reason and other reasons, he thinks managers should treat individuals differently. But the possibility of favoritism must be carefully self-monitored by managers:

While this is a universal business issue, I feel it is particularly important to high technology enterprises. High tech companies–particularly startups and other early stage companies–are built to move very fast. A big aspect of that speed advantage is often the company culture, which tends to be open and collaborative. To ignore this issue in a software or hardware tech business is to invite a loss of productivity–or in extreme circumstances– an actual destruction of the company culture that you’ve worked hard to create. Resentment can build quickly when favoritism is suspected.

However, Morettini finds that all the real damage caused by favoritism occurs squarely in that area of “perception,” earned or otherwise. If an employee feels undervalued because he or she feels that the manager values someone else more, it is going to hurt that employee’s productivity. Likewise, consider if a manager knows he or she is being accused of favoritism but disagrees with that assessment. If the manager chooses to ignore the issue, thinking it is not management’s problem to fix people’s backward perceptions, the result will remain the same—employee productivity drops.

A few recommendations are given to managers to dispel the possibility of favoritism. Managers should do all they can to connect perks and promotions to job performance alone. They should practice empathy by trying to imagine how other employees might feel about a given situation. They should also maintain an open-door policy. These are all good starting points.

For further tips, you can view the original article here:

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