Workplace Favoritism

How To Avoid Workplace Favoritism

How To Avoid Workplace Favoritism

by Rieva Lesonsky
reprinted with permission from the Microsoft Small Business Center

Q: I know from past experience that bosses sometimes favor some employees over others based on personal reasons. Now that I’m a business owner, how can I be sure I’m treating my employees fairly and not showing favoritism?

A: You’re right to be concerned about this; it’s a common employee complaint about bosses. Since it’s human nature to like some people more than others (and bosses are people, too) you have to constantly monitor your actions and deeds to make sure you’re not favoring some employees over others. But being fair doesn’t mean everyone on staff gets treated exactly the same. All too often when business owners try to dole out equal treatment, no one benefits.

This is not as contradictory as it sounds.
Of course you cannot discriminate when it comes to salaries and “hard” benefits (medical, vacation, personal and sick days, etc.). But you do have some flexibility when it comes to the “softer” benefits-and here’s where you can tailor your offerings based on the needs of your individual employees.

Let me tell you about a situation I faced several years back. I heard one of my single staffers thought I favored the mothers on the staff since they were allowed to build their schedules around their kids’ schedules. Instead of letting the situation fester, I asked the employee to come into my office to discuss the situation. She (after a bit of coaxing and several assurances I wouldn’t get mad) said she thought it was unfair that the moms got so much flexibility in their schedules. I pointed out that I gave her a flex schedule when she wanted to take some classes (non work-related). And it was as if the proverbial light bulb went off in her head. She realized that she had been treated exactly the same as the moms, just under different circumstances.

As this shows, sometimes it’s not actual favoritism that’s causing the problem but the perception of it.

As the boss, it is your responsibility to know how your employees feel and nip any problems before blossom. You also need to find out what matters to your employees. While flex time may work for some, others might appreciate a comp day or even tickets to a ball game. It’s not important what you do, but that you do something for everyone.

All that said, many bosses actually do like some of their employees more than others. The key is not to show it or you can easily end up with a morale problem. I talked to my sister, the HR guru, who added that in some cases workplace favoritism could be considered a type of discrimination and can lead to legal troubles. She also recommends you have policy and procedures guidelines concerning raises, promotions and perks and make sure you adhere to them.

The key is awareness. You need to know what your employees need and/or want and if it’s possible for you to offer solutions.

More important you can’t sit in your office and wait for the you-know-what to hit the fan. I’m a big fan of managing by walking around. That way you’re more apt to learn if perceived workplace favoritism is causing a morale problem and your staff will feel more comfortable talking to you about their concerns.

To read more about business tips, visit our blog today.

eMazzanti YouTube: 


Bryan Antepara: IT Specialist

Bryan Antepara is a leader in Cloud engagements with a demonstrated history of digital transformation of business processes with the user of Microsoft Technologies powered by the team of eMazzanti Technologies engineers.

Bryan has a strong experience working with Office 365 cloud solutions, Business Process, Internet Information Services (IIS), Microsoft Office Suite, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Customer Service.

He has the ability to handle the complexity of moving data in and out of containers and cloud sessions, makes him the perfect candidate to help organizations large and small migrate to new and more efficient platforms.  Bryan is a graduate of the University of South Florida and is Microsoft Certification holder.



Video Resources

Are You It Resources Effective In The New Normal


Are Your IT Resources Effective in the New Normal?

Align2020 A Virtual Conference


Align 2020
Cyber Security, Compliance & Collaboration

Best Practices For Working In A Modern, Mobile, And Secure Environment


Best Practices for Working in a Modern, Mobile, and Secure Environment