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Do your managers “play favorites” with certain employees? Most managers would probably say “no,” but people often harbor unconscious perceptions that can influence day-to-day decision-making and job reviews of the employees they manage.

Studies on performance reviews show that several factors unrelated to employee performance can impact evaluations conducted by managers.

Such favoritism—or even perceived favoritism—can lower employee morale and lead to discrimination lawsuits. That’s one reason it’s important to help your organization's managers learn to recognize nonperformance-related perceptions that can unintentionally impact evaluations—for better or worse.

Advice: Train supervisors be aware of these three nonperformance factors that often come into play when giving feedback to employees and doing performance reviews:

1. Hiring choice. Managers often give better reviews to employees they hire or at least had a hand in choosing. Subconsciously, managers tend to make a greater emotional and professional investment in the success of employees they are responsible for bringing aboard.

2. The mirror. Like the general population, some managers tend to unintentionally identify with people of their own gender, race and socioeconomic class. Such identification may subtly influence judgments about which employees perform better.

3. Personal relationship. Managers may give better job reviews to employees they like, for whatever reasons. For example, personable employees with good communication skills can ingratiate themselves with managers and improve the perception of their actual performance.

Bottom line: Managers must objectively follow performance evaluation criteria. Encourage them to challenge the job evaluations they give, asking whether they are based solely on performance. They shouldn't depend entirely on memory for facts and examples in reviews. The best bet: Keeping a performance log during the year on each worker, making objective notes on performance and leaving out unrelated observations. 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

victoria February 27, 2016 at 10:09 pm

our manager and supervisor are playing favorites only chatting to people they choose to talk non-work related of course most of the day and those favorites are acting like they are extensions of the boss they just choose whoever they like to talk they can come late take lunch more than the normal time most of all they give gifts to bosses and leaving the rest working hard outcast and frustrated and how can you complain obnoxious coworker when they are one of the favorites?? oh by the way we call this group “click group” coz everyday only them are making the workplace like their playground the warning signs mentioned above are exactly the kind of bosses we have


anonymous March 2, 2012 at 6:34 am

my manager’s a *****. south san francisco,california. wds costco


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