What you need to know:
- Raising this as a group protects you from victimisation.
- Together, make a list of the specific cases of nepotism and then ask for a meeting with a senior manager who is not part of the illegal dealings, or with the CEO, and state your grievances.
What is the best way to tackle issues of nepotism and tribalism? Some of our managers have populated their departments with relatives. The company’s list of suppliers is also full of relatives and friends of my colleagues. We will soon be out of jobs unless key decisions are made.
Though you are caught up in such a challenging situation, you are absolutely right to be concerned about the future of your employer, and by extension, your job. Employees are key stakeholders within their organisation and yet sometimes they choose silence, unaware that their voice is just as important as that of shareholders and customers.
Start by checking which policies have been violated and establish exactly how. What does your policy say about nepotism? While most companies prohibit employment of immediate family members, some tend to be more open to distant relatives. Some companies will further require their employees to declare any conflict of interest and possibly excuse themselves from any recruitment process that may involve a relative to eliminate conflict. Policy statement notwithstanding, you could list situations where work has been compromised due to incompetency, or where favouritism has been applied to the disadvantage of other employees. Is there a competitive process of selecting service providers? Has this process been followed? If not, escalate your grievances through internal reporting channels.
You could also rope in other colleagues who are keen to protect the organisation, and lodge a joint complaint. Raising this as a group protects you from victimisation. Together, make a list of the specific cases of nepotism and then ask for a meeting with a senior manager who is not part of the illegal dealings, or with the CEO, and state your grievances. If the CEO is involved in these malpractices, you could seek audience with their supervisors. If you fear that the perpetrators could victimise you, consider sharing your grievances secretly. It does not matter whether you have such a channel or not. All you need to do is share the evidence with the senior management through anonymous means. All said and done, would you rather speak out boldly and risk losing your job, or hold your peace and lose your job when the company goes bankrupt? Be the judge.