Beyond pay equity, how to eradicate favoritism?

You have recently carried out an internal equity exercise, assessed the positioning of your salaries in the labor market, and updated your salary scales. The process was carried out professionally and communicated effectively to staff members. Some of them nevertheless inform you that despite all the efforts made by the organization, members of the team are not treated fairly towards their colleagues and yet…

By entering the word “favoritism” in the Google search bar, the first definition you will find is:grant benefits by favor and not according to justice or merit[1].

If we asked you very candidly “do you have one or morefavorite employeesat work? ”, you would probably answer in the affirmative. It goes without saying that we all have more admiration, affinities or common interests with certain people. Some influencers go so far as to offer exhaustive lists of ways to become the “petof the boss »[2].

What treatment do you reserve for these people? Have you ever invited a member of your team to a restaurant just for fun? Are you more lenient towards certain people in terms of additional leave or special requests for working time arrangements?

The intentions behind these marks of recognition are undoubtedly good. But what about the employeeswho witness these practices: is their personal appreciation of these practices affected by a feeling of injustice or inequity?

The company that is faced with favoritism behavior puts itself at risk and can suffer repercussions over time:

  1. a working climate which becomes less serene, even unhealthy
  2. poor performance
  3. a loss of credibility of the manager concerned
  4. resignation of competent employees

Conversely, to be successful in your organization, make sure that all members, without exception, feel like they are being treated fairly. Adapt your communications, make sure you are interested in all your staff, and measure their perceptions. What if after updating your salary scales, you would refresh your merit recognition programs? Employees also know how to recognize the leaders of the organization and are happy to see employees who stand out receive recognition.


[1]Favoritism.Google. Accessed September 10, 2020.

[2]Florence Tison. (September 8, 2020). 14 tips to become the office darling. Espresso-Jobs.


Ariane Legault

Organizational development consultant

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