HR PERSPECTIVE: Nepotism in firms must stop

HR PERSPECTIVE: Nepotism in firms must stop

Nepotism deprives the organisation of an opportunity to get the right talent.

EARLY this year, we conducted a survey on the prevalence of nepotism within Zimbabwean workplaces.
A total of 1 173 employees responded to the survey.
The results show that there is high prevalence of nepotism in Zimbabwean organisations.
When asked to indicate the prevalence of nepotism in their current organisation, of 718 employees who answered this question, 31,3 percent said there is high prevalence of nepotism in their organisation, 30,1 percent indicated moderate prevalence, 24,9 percent indicated low prevalence and 13,6 percent indicated no prevalence of nepotism.
When asked the question: “Have you ever benefited from nepotism in your life?” out of the 702 employees who answered this question only 12,4 percent said yes, 87,6 percent indicated that they have never benefitted from nepotism in their work life so far.
Our findings suggested that nepotism was most prevalent in recruitment and promotions.
Nepotism deprives the organisation of an opportunity to get the right talent thereby affecting the performance of organisation. In many cases, none performing people are hire or promoted with no merit. This is ill-advised and very short sighted. A number of local organisations have collapsed as a result of malpractices such as nepotism and lack of governance structures.
This survey was a confirmation what probably many have already observed in local organisations where cliques and groups of friends, family members and close associates find jobs not because they are better (both qualification and experience) but they get the jobs by virtue of association with those with power in organisations.
Organisations can address the prevalence of nepotism by crafting transparent policies that prevents nepotism in the main areas cited above; recruitment, promotions and procurement. There should be heavy penalties for any manager practicing nepotism.
When asked the question: “Does your organisation have an anti-nepotism policy?” out of the 716 employees who answered this question 56 percent said their employer does not have such a policy, 18,6 percent said they do have and 25,4 percent said they are not sure if the policy exit. It is shocking that only 18,6 percent of the participating employees indicated that their employers have an anti-nepotism policy.
Another way to deal with the nepotism problem is to have an ethics policy that deals with all areas where potential risk of unethical behaviour exists.
Our survey did have its limitations. The study used a convenient sample of people already in the IPC database. The database consists of over 40 000 employees of which 1 173 responded. The study used the e-mail function embedded in the Survey Monkey platform to reach out to participants. This excludes employee, especially low level employees who have no access to email.
Despite this shortcoming, data confidence level was 95 percent.
For the full nepotism in the workplace survey report, contact Memory Nguwi.

Memory Nguwi is an occupational psychologist, data scientist, speaker and managing consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. Phone +263 4 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or cell number +263 77 2356 361 or email: or visit our website at

  • Tozvireva Kupi Mambo

    The NetOne recruitment process that your company IPC handled was riddled with the very nepotism you pontificate about and corruption. Acting NetOne CEO is minister’s relative. Executive Human Resources came from minister’s company, Tarcon. CFO is an ex-MetBank director and was declared unfit to hold public office after a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe sanctioned audit on Afre Corporation, following the Renaissance Bank matter involving Pattison Timba. You and your company, IPC should practice what you preach!

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