7 Ways To Exhibit Fairness in the Workplace

Updated June 24, 2022

The workplace environment has a large effect on the productivity of employees and their view of their employers. Happiness at work is a metric that can be hard to measure but is essential to the success of a company. Managers use their control over policy to ensure fairness in the workplace so employees feel productive and happy. In this article, we will discuss what fairness in the workplace is and why it's important as well as some tactics that you can employ in your own workplace to exhibit fairness.

What is fairness in the workplace?

Fairness in the workplace is the metric by which good judgement is used to determine the just treatment of employees in their workplace. Managers base this fair treatment on employee behavior and the work environment.

Fairness in the workplace extends to the way management treats their employees with respect and dignity. It also encompasses the relationships between peers in a workplace. In fair workplaces, managers treat professionals equal to their peer groups of a similar skill set, regardless of demographic status or relationship to other members of the organization.

Related: What Is Respect in the Workplace?

Why is fairness in the workplace important?

Fairness in the workplace contributes to employees feeling safe and engaged in the work they produce. It creates a productive environment for employees in which the company compensates them fairly and management professionals equally appreciate each employee's hard work.

Fair workplace environments also ensure management professionals choose appropriate disciplinary action for employees when necessary. This environment often increases employees' personal investment in the company's success and reduces turnover.

It is also essential that companies maintain fair practices with the employees in order to stay within the bounds of labor laws.

Related: Complete Guide To Ethical Leadership (with Examples)

How to exhibit fairness in the workplace

You can exhibit fairness in the workplace by making sure that each employee has both what they deserve and what they reasonably need to be successful. As a manager or employer, try to set policy and principles that provide both things to your employees. Here are some tactics you can implement to create fairness in your workplace:

1. Encourage mutual respect

When interacting with your employees, consider how you would want to be treated if you were in the other person's position. Fairness in the workplace begins with people of all ranks being held to the same standards of respect. Be sure to encourage this standard between managers and employees as well as between co-workers of any rank.

Model respectful and fair behavior towards each of your team members to set the standard for all employees. In order to do this, consider the actions other managers take to show they value employees. It is also helpful to ask for feedback from your team members regarding your approach to fair treatment.

2. Model correct behavior

As the manager of a team, you set the tone for how employees act. Try to keep this in mind as you work and promote healthy and productive working habits. If you notice an employee is struggling, offer them help to encourage teamwork-based practices. This often helps motivate your team and keep each employee happy.

For example, if a manager often expresses how grateful they are for their team and is happy to help employees in need, this may encourage other employees to do the same.

Related: 10 Ways To Build Effective Leadership Behaviors

3. Change rules to promote fairness

When promoting fairness in your workplace, consider reviewing some of the workplace rules and changing any policies that do not serve the environment you are trying to build. However, remember that in these cases, rules may have to be on an employee-by-employee basis. Because of this, it is often important to implement flexible work policies.

For example, if an employee with a disability cannot come into the office five days a week, you may consider a work-from-home policy to adjust to their needs.

Read more: Flexible Work Policies: Definition, Types and Tips

4. Communicate with your employees

Consider requesting suggestions from employees and your team about what they need and how they perceive the rules that affect them. Having an open dialogue with your employees, as well as a positive attitude helps to build a sense of trust between you and your team members.

For example, if you see the need to change a policy for one employee, you can use it as an opportunity to ask your team members if the policy change would ease everyone's work stress. This practice helps you foster a healthy work environment.

Related: How To Navigate Workplace Politics

5. Create transparent promotion procedures

Promotions are a benefit of doing outstanding work. When employers inform professionals about the improvement goals and promotion standards, these professionals often work to accomplish these goals.

Consider implementing transparent structures for promotions and raises that you can follow when handing out these benefits. This allows you to reference these structures when an employee asks about the possibility of their own promotion.

Here are some things you can do to improve your procedure transparency:

  • Institute regular feedback periods.

  • Pair mentors and trainees together to provide feedback and instruction.

  • Work with employees to institute regular goals to track their improvement.

  • Have a structured promotion path that employees can look to.

Related: 18 Reasons You Deserve To Be Promoted

6. Commit to fair paychecks

One of the most important ways to show that you value your employees is to compensate them fairly for their work. This compensation should be fair across employees within your organization, as well as appropriate to the industry standard. Fair pay across demographic groups with consideration for responsibility and skill set is a simple way to keep turnover low and show that you value your employees.

In addition to having fair pay, consider having transparent pay structures to ensure your employees know that their pay is fair. Eliminating secrecy about pay structures often promotes a healthy work environment and ensures trust between employees and management. It also shows that management respects the intelligence and value of their employees.

7. Offer an appeals process

If your employees have suspicions about unfairness or questions about transparency in your organization, you can help subdue some of these concerns by allowing them to share their thoughts with an impartial professional or platform. It is beneficial to establish an appeals process that does not affect a professionals' employment or allow any negative consequences for sharing their concerns.

This practice also accommodates for issues that employees may not feel comfortable bringing to a direct boss. Because of situations like this, you can create a system with your human resources department that handles workplace concerns privately and effectively.

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