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Fairness definition: what does fairness mean?

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Fairness definition

Workplace fairness refers to a component of organisational behaviour, concerning the impartiality of both processes and results. From a DE&I perspective, the degree to which resources—like status, power, health, and happiness—are allocated proportionately among groups is sometimes used to measure fairness.  

A fair workplace is a workplace with evenly distributed opportunities and outcomes. Most organisations still fall short of being defined as fair, as according to a survey by Gallup, only around one quarter of employees (28%) strongly agree that their organisation is fair to everyone. To cultivate fairness, it first means recognising that life is unfair to certain groups or individuals. 

A fair workplace requires both behavioural and structural components. An organisation is required to review and implement processes and systems that enable fairness for all employees. Fairness is not subjective when it comes to discrimination (for example the gender pay gap), and involves removing structural barriers and unconscious biases, and imbedding processes that lead to more equitable outcomes.  

A truly fair workplace would ensure that there is fair hiring, pay, cultures, assessments, policies and promotions. 

At FAIRER Consulting, our work is underpinned by six core principles which make up our strategy towards a fairer and more equitable society: 

  • F – Fairness: Treating everyone impartially, without bias or discrimination, to ensure equitable opportunities for all. 
  • A – Accessibility: Ensuring environments and opportunities are easily attainable, regardless of abilities or background. 
  • I – Inclusion: Creating environments that embrace diversity, where everyone feels valued, respected and that they belong. 
  • R – Respect: Acknowledging and appreciating the value and dignity of every individual; operating with consideration in all scenarios. 
  • E – Equity: Providing fair opportunities and support to address systemic disadvantages, ensuring everyone reaches their full potential. 
  • R – Representation: Reflecting the diversity of various groups; seeing people of all backgrounds make meaningful contributions. 

Real-world context

  • Fair pay: A remuneration package that is reasonable, adequate, and in line with the value of the work completed is referred to as fair pay. It considers a number of variables, including education, experience, and talents, to determine how much money a person should be paid. A survey by Indeed suggested that 81% of employees are more loyal to their employer if they feel like they are compensated fairly.  
  • Transparency: According to Gartner's 2021 poll, just 33% of organisations practice transparency around data and information, despite a growing demand. This strategy results in instances where information is dispersed inconsistently. For example, according to the same Gartner poll, men are 6% more likely than women to receive prepared materials before an evaluation or interview. In a fair organisation, information would be shared transparently and equally across all colleagues.  
  • Fair opportunities: As reported by Harvard Business Review, more than half of employees rate their company as having a high level of fairness when they feel taken into consideration for opportunities that they are competent to pursue. However, only 18% of workers believe they are given consideration for these chances. Fair organisations would ensure that these opportunities are available to all colleagues.  

Related services

To continue reading about FAIRER Consulting and our DE&I consultancy services, please see some of our related pages here:

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