What difference does a fair work environment make?

Expressing success in numbers causes us to overlook some intangible but important points. If we focus only on sales figures, how can we understand our impact on the world or how we actually make our employees feel? Today, when talent management is at the top of the agenda, it is necessary to consider some abstract concepts while talking about employee engagement, happiness and the success of the total employee experience in parallel with this agenda item. The concept of fairness is one of them. What difference does a fair work environment make, in which situations is fairness critical?


What does a fair work environment mean?

Equal pay for equal work: If numbers are the first thing we talk about in some issues, let’s start with numbers in a fair work environment. Equal pay for equal work is one of the most important indicators of fairness in an organization.  It is also one of the most debated issues all over the world. Research findings show a gender-based injustice. Worldwide, women are paid only 78 percent of what men are paid for the same job.  Apart from gender, invisible indicators such as race and religion also trigger inequality. Moreover, there are age-related inequalities. There are even inequalities that have become the norm between two people doing the same job.

Maternal and paternal rights: Mothers who are about to have a baby have certain rights before, during and after birth. Many companies that care about employee satisfaction and well-being have started to implement similar rights for fathers as well. It is crucial that parents of new babies be given the opportunity to take time off for the birth of their child when it is most needed, without compromising on pay.

Career development opportunities: When employees have clear opportunities for career development, they are more likely to work harder to achieve goals and do more for their employers.

Fair benefits: For many people, fringe benefits are as important as the salary itself. These benefits should range from health insurance packages to contributions for postgraduate study. If the additional benefits offered to some “star” employees lead to a sense of injustice within the company, decision-makers may have moved away from the benefit they thought they were creating.  On the other hand, if you offer a single weekend travel entitlement to a female employee who has childcare responsibilities at home, this is not a fair benefit for her. Fairness is establishing all these balances correctly.

Emphasis on work-life balance: Another non-financial indicator of a company’s fairness is the value it places on work-life balance. Companies that expect their employees to work long hours and be in constant work focus nurture cultures of disengagement and burnout. What happens in these companies is that instead of encouraging greater productivity, they force employees to work less efficiently for longer periods of time. At the end of the day, it hurts everyone.

Compassion factor: Compassion is an important issue on its own. It is a broad concept that includes the organization’s ability to care, protect, safeguard and tolerate its employees. When justice has compassion in it, responses given to the humanly needs of employees make them engaged to the company: such as tolerating a father who wants to go to his child’s performance or allowing an employee who is not feeling well mentally or physically to take paid time off… When paid sick leave is not an option and employees continue to work when they are sick, this negatively affect everyone around them. Efficiency and morale can drop rapidly.


Visible effects of fairness

  • If you feel that you work in a fair work environment, you feel trust. Fairness and trust are two cornerstones of employee engagement.
  • Increased trust of management and other employees fuels cooperation and teamwork.
  • Increased collaboration escalates productivity and employee engagement.
  • Higher employee engagement reduces employee turnover and thus costs.
  • Lower costs (and increased productivity) drive success. And that’s when it makes sense to talk about numbers.