Fairness is a way to acknowledge the rights of every individual and the use of equalization in order for all to be equal. All human beings want to be treated fairly.

In other words, we all desire to be treated based on the same terms. This means that equality adapts the rules to concrete cases in order to make them fairer.

HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO DAILY LIFE?

When someone is un-biased, they will treat others with fairness, clear rules and without any discrimination. When we speak of equality, we speak of acceptance of color, race, religion, gender, age, socioeconomic status, political affiliation, sexual preferences and any other particular trait of a person.

When there’s equality, we’re ALL measured according to the same rules. Therefore, impartiality is a criteria of fairness with which decisions must be made according to objective views, without any biased influences, prejudice or differentiated treatment based on unprofessional reasons.

Now, when we talk about equality, fairness and justice, we don’t necessarily mean that impartiality proposes that all individuals must be treated in exactly the same way in all circumstances. In practically all societies and companies worldwide, it’s considered acceptable and coherent to treat certain people differently if such treatment is justified by objective and external reasons. For example, most legal systems establish different sentences for offenses according to their severity.

This doesn’t imply the presence of bias: the different sentences are determined according to objective and predictable criteria, in this case, the law. Impartiality implies that this fair-minded criteria is applied homogeneously to all people.

So basically, fairness doesn’t mean that all cases need to be resolved in the same way. It means that similar cases must have similar resolutions made without any biased influences or prejudice.

THE IMPORTANCE OF EQUALITY IN THE WORKPLACE

For the company to have a great work environment and positive organizational climate, there’s a need for equality. This means that the people working at the company must be treated with fairness and equality by all other employees. The importance of equality, as a principal way for a company to organize itself, lies in the fact that it improves productivity, motivates the employees and helps the company stand out from competitors. When there’s equality and a fair work environment, everything becomes smoother, more pleasant, with less gossip, rumors and negative talks. In order to create a sophisticated work environment, it’s crucial to have a culture of fairness and equality in the company. Without these vital elements, it’s almost impossible to achieve a great workplace.

PERCEPTION IS REALITY

Most of the time, the perception we have is more important than the reality that exists. Meaning that perception is actually the reality of each individual. It's important to understand that at times, perception isn't the same for all members of a group, team or society.

Therefore, each individual lives a different reality. In fact, you’ll notice that with concepts such as equality, everyone has his own ideas and perceptions of what’s fair and equitable or not.

Justice, equality and fairness aren’t elements that can be defined in a black and white manner. They have a lot of gray areas and in order to be objective with them, we’ve got to be clear, express our expectations, listen and understand those of others.

Equality is a relative concept and not a concrete one, meaning that in every society, group or individual, there are differences regarding what’s fair and what isn’t. For a society or group to co-create productively and generate equality, it’s important that the majority reaches an agreement about what’s fair.

The perception of equality is a strong source of satisfaction, motivation, stability and performance. One contributes to it by being mindful about objectivity, personal treatment, by avoiding comparative grievances and managing people with professionalism. The motivation, performance and work satisfaction of an individual will be measured by a subjective evaluation that takes into account how much that person contributes and receives, in comparison to what others contribute and receive.

The contribution can be found in the form of knowledge, experience, time, effort, dedication, enthusiasm, etc.

What’s received in exchange can be in the form of salary, social benefits, prestige, esteem, recognition, affection, etc. The most important part of this comparison is the way the individuals are treated, referring to individual fairness and the way the rules and procedures are applied. With this comparison you can obtain the perception of EQUALITY-FAIRNESS or INEQUALITY-UNFAIRNESS.

The perception of EQUALITY-FAIRNESS will motivate the employees towards peak performance, ensuring a strong and productive relationship with and commitment to the company.

On the other hand, the perception of INEQUALITY-UNFAIRNESS will lead people towards a sense of tension that’ll generate various compensatory strategies in order to win back a sense of fairness. This means that if a person feels treated unfairly, he or she will lose motivation and thus restore fairness by decreasing his or her performance. At the same time, multiple studies have shown that when someone doesn’t feel treated fairly over time, he or she will do the strict minimum, killing any motivation and initiative. That’s why the perception of equality is so vital in order to have a joyful, productive and remarkable work environment.

1. BE UN-BIASED WITH YOUR ACTIONS

First of all, remember that an un-biased person is someone who makes decisions objectively, without favoritism of any kind and who's free of any influential factors. A biased person on the other hand, takes part in favoritism, doesn’t make decisions or judgements based on objectivity and is easily influenced by internal and external factors.

2. FOLLOW THE GOLDEN RULE

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This basically means that you should treat others as you’d have them treat you. Treat all employees with respect, regardless of their rank, their position or your preconceived idea of them. Remember, we all want to be treated fairly and for that to happen, you’ve got to treat everyone in a way you’d like to be treated yourself.

3. BE EMPATHETIC WITH OTHERS

Before judging anyone, put yourself in his or her shoes. Take a moment to imagine where they're coming from, what they're explaining to you, what their reasons are and from there, act with an open heart and mind. Being empathetic DOESN´T mean justifying an injustice. It means making an un-biased decision without prejudice and doing what needs to be done with kindness and integrity. Being empathetic doesn't mean saying “yes” to everything that the other person wants. It simply means seeing things the way the other person sees them, even if just for a moment, and from there making the best decisions based on agreements, rules, policies and what needs to be done at the workplace.

4. ALWAYS GIVE CLARITY

Clarity is the best way to show where you stand. Be clear with all people and assess them with the same criteria.When you make sure that the rules of the game have been established and that all team members understand them, you’ll be able to see that they know what’s expected of them.

RECOMMENDATIONS TO BE FAIRER:

  • Apply justice and equality in all aspects of your life.

  • Don't discriminate, not even as a “joke”, based on nationality, race, social status and political views.

  • Fairness, in its truest form, demands the removal of all subjective distinctions. So, if you want to be fair, you have to be objective in your decision-making process. The only way to be objective is by having clarity in your decisions.

  • Even though “the necessity to preserve trust for all” is an attribute of neutrality, it also applies to the initiation of fairness. Only fair actions can help you project an image of trust to the people who need help or protection.

  • Being unbiased doesn’t mean being detached. Being unbiased reflects the consistent desire to tell the truth, to discern accurately and to solve a situation fairly.

  • Being unbiased consists in setting aside all subjective views that may hinder your capacity to act properly.

SubCategories of Fairness:

Impartiality:
This subcategory measures how much honesty one has in the organization. How much people can be neutral when dealing with others and be objective in their treatment without showing favoritism.

Justice:

Here we measure the equality with which people are treated. How much are differences being made based on gender, religion, race, economic situation or physical appearance.

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