The Fairness Game —Fiorenza
Think about your own experience. If a manager socializes with one group of employees and not another, is the team more likely to be cohesive or fragmented? When one worker sees another “get away” with misconduct, what is the response? When one employee gets a coveted assignment, how does the other employee react? If two employees working the same job are paid differently, what happens?
Managing to achieve perceived fairness among employees is not an easy task. It requires managers to be as concerned about their employees—and their perceptions—as they are about getting a job done for that important customer. Managers must be positive role models for their employees, both in terms of skill and integrity. In other words, they need to know their employees’ jobs as well as the employees and demonstrate a highly ethical approach to all aspects of their professional and private lives.
Employees are less likely to take direction from someone who “doesn’t know what they are talking about” or someone whose personal life is “so messed up” they aren’t worthy of respect. Managers must have good communication skills; be willing, patient, skilled listeners; and clear, concise, non-threatening speakers and writers. In short, managers must become good leaders to achieve this level of fairness.
At work, as in all other interaction, employees remain social beings with an ingrained sense of fairness. This sense must be satisfied to avoid unnecessary and destructive conflict. Give your managers the tools they need to comply with the law, but also help them to become true leaders. Both approaches are needed to achieve a truly fair and successful workplace. PI
—Nicholas J. Fiorenza
About the Author
Nicholas J. Fiorenza is managing partner of the employment law firm of Ferrara, Fiorenza, Larrison, Barrett & Reitz, P.C., and long-time association counsel to the PIA and its members. He is also president of Delacroix Consulting Group, the HR consulting component of the law firm. For more info, visit www.ferrarafirm.com .