What is fairness in the workplace?
Fairness in the workplace refers to organizational justice in relation to interpersonal relationships (especially those between an employee and their manager) and the impact they have on employee experience.
Why is fairness important?
As humans, being treated how we feel we deserve has a large impact on our emotional well-being.
In an environment where employees feel they are being treated fairly, we can expect boosts in employee trust and morale which can improve overall performance and productivity. On the other hand, in an unfair working environment, employees may have lower productivity, company loyalty and are more likely to quit
That said, it’s not easy to implement fairness-promoting procedures. Individual circumstances and differences of employees have to be taken into consideration, as well as the training of managers.
However, to maintain employee satisfaction and create a sustainable community within companies, it is crucial that each organization takes a look at what they can do to further create a fair working environment.
How to promote fairness within your organization:
Transparent promotion procedures
Promotions are a way of acknowledging and rewarding employees for their hard work and contribution and can have a large impact on an employee’s motivation. Make sure to implement a clear, transparent promotion system outlining what is needed to qualify for a promotion. By doing so, employees will know what to work towards throughout the year. And if a promotion isn’t granted, the system can also serve as a reference to properly explain why the company made the decision.
Giving proper recognition/credit
Besides compensation, feeling that one is valued as a part of the company also takes a large part in employee satisfaction. To accurately measure the contributions of each employee, managers should have regular 1on1s and reviews with employees. To prevent biased reviews from managers, try to implement evaluation rubrics and check for consistency through reviews.
Offer equitable opportunities
Managers should distribute responsibilities and feedback fairly to all employees. Organizations should take time to reaffirm that all employees will be given equal opportunities for advancement.
Open reporting system
When a problem arises, employees should be able to voice their concerns comfortably. Create a reporting system where employees can communicate their complaints without them being made known to their managers. For some organizations, there may be overly complicated/formal procedures put in place. If so, try to re-evaluate current procedures to see if anything can be simplified to make the reporting process easier and less intimidating
Fair does not always mean equal. Each individual has their own perception of what is fair and what is not. If there are two employees who are in charge of the same task, however, one has a family and the other does not, should the employee with a family be compensated more? It may be difficult to navigate these nuances, but managers should be empathetic of each employee’s situation and make decisions accordingly.
The process of creating a fair working environment can sometimes put strains on managers. However, in the long term, taking appropriate measures for a fair workplace is essential in a healthy and sustainable organization.