Defining fairness is kind of like defining the perfect food. It means something different to everyone. It’s nearly impossible to create a collectively agreed-upon definition. However, everyone has a sense of fairness and unfairness. It’s a strong feeling that people have strong opinions about.
So how can employers create this elusive feeling of fairness in the majority, if not all of their employees? It’s all about creating circumstances that lead to feelings of fairness.
From your hiring processes to your pay, from your vision and strategy to your company’s financial status, information makes people feel safe. It’s important to regularly survey your staff to see how they’re feeling about information accessibility within your organisation and track your improvements. Make sure everyone has the information they need to understand their place in the company, succeed at their job and advance their position.
When hiring internally, make sure everyone has a fair shot. There may be some surprising talent available in departments you wouldn’t have thought to look in. If you run a hybrid workplace, make sure the remote workers are aware of new opportunities as well.
Getting rid of unconscious bias in the workplace is a journey, not a destination. As long as there is change in the world, there will be fear, worry and stress. And where there is fear, there will be bias. So it’s important to continually offer opportunity for training in confronting unconscious bias both for company leaders and for employees.
Modelling Fair Behaviour
Company culture is created from the top down. As a company leader, you’re ultimately setting the tone of the office as well as modelling the behaviour. If you make off-colour jokes about women in the workplace, your employees will understand that to be an acceptable way to behave. On the other hand, if you treat everyone equally, not only will you have defined acceptable behaviour, but you will also have done all you can to make everyone feel safe.
Willingness to Change
Don’t be afraid to make foundational changes in your organisation. Review your company’s policies to make sure they promote the kind of environment you’re trying to create. If they don’t, change them. Companies around the world are changing rules to meet the new demands of remote workers.
When someone feels powerless, they do not feel a sense of fairness. One of the ways you can return power to individual employees is by creating a simple, accessible appeals process for if they ever feel they’ve been treated unfairly. This gives people a sense of control and builds trust.
You may not be able to make everyone feel they’ve been treated fairly at all times. But if you’re setting the standards that promote fairness, you should start seeing increasingly positive feedback from your employees. Create and nurture the right circumstances for positive feelings to grow.
At OLAM Group, we help small to mid-sized companies with their ever-changing HR needs. Are you looking for expert guidance or ideas for enhancing the quality of your workplace? Please reach out to us today.