How employees perceive fairness in the workplace is very important (as this funny video about an experiment with capuchin monkeys demonstrates), but in my conversations with leaders, I make it a point to separate equality from equivalency. This may sound like I’m splitting hairs, but let me explain.
Fairness cannot be equal
Fairness should not (and cannot) be equal, it must be equivalent. In other words, good leaders don’t treat all their employees exactly the same, rather they adapt their approaches to be more effective for different employees. Sure, that can translate into differences in how policies are interpreted and how rules are enforced, which may cause complaining, particularly from those employees who may feel like they are getting the raw end of the bargain.
Focus on doing the right thing … for the company AND the employee
Chances are that the employee who complains is likely the one who would complain about unfairness no matter what action or approach you took. Continue reading