The Most Hated Cliché: We’re like family 

The corporate cliché “we’re like a family” has long been used to cultivate unity and camaraderie among employees. However, recent insights suggest that this phrase might deter potential job seekers. According to a study conducted by People Managing People, almost one in five (18%) job applicants would reconsider accepting a job offer upon hearing the term “family” during an interview. 

The problem with “We’re like family”:


Unrealistic Expectations and Emotional Manipulation:

The “family” analogy often creates an emotional connection between employees and the company. This creates a sense of obligation and guilt if personal needs conflict with work. This pressure can lead to burnout, bad work-life balance, and resentment among employees.

Blurred Boundaries and Personal Intrusions:

Using the “family” metaphor blurs the lines between professional and personal lives. This results in an expectation of constant availability. This intrusion can make employees feel uncomfortable and overwhelmed, impacting their well-being.

Favoritism and Nepotism:

Emphasizing family bonds might foster an environment where favoritism and nepotism prevail, creating unfair treatment. Discouraging career advancement opportunities based on merit.

Lack of Accountability and Transparency:

The “family” rhetoric might mask accountability issues, leading employees to suppress concerns or avoid questioning decisions for fear of disrupting the perceived harmony.

Stifling Creativity and Innovation:

The emphasis on “family” dynamics sometimes stifles creativity and innovation by discouraging different opinions or unconventional ideas, limiting a company’s adaptability and competitiveness.

Recommendations for Positive Workplace Culture

Mutual Respect:

Cultivate a culture of genuine respect by valuing employees’ contributions, maintaining open communication, and promptly addressing concerns.

Clear Boundaries and Expectations:

Define clear boundaries between personal and professional life. Respect personal time and discourage intrusive inquiries while setting clear expectations for work-related standards.

Promote Meritocracy and Transparency:

Foster a merit-based environment, promote transparency in decision-making processes and recognize employees’ contributions based on performance, not personal connections.

Embrace Diverse Perspectives:

Create an inclusive workplace that welcomes and respects diverse backgrounds, encourage open dialogue and address any discrimination or harassment issues promptly.

Prioritize Employee Well-being:

Support employee well-being and work-life balance provide resources, encourage healthy work habits, and show genuine concern for your employees’ welfare.


By discarding the outdated “we’re like a family” narrative and adopting a more authentic and inclusive workplace approach, you can cultivate a positive environment. It will be conducive to productivity and innovation. Companies with this attitude can expect to attract and retain top talent, boost employee morale and productivity. This will lead to them achieving their business objectives. A thriving workplace culture is not a just  concept but the cornerstone of a company’s success.