Just 18% of employees said they work in a high fairness environment and have an employee experience that is characterised as fair.
And, according to Gartner, human resources (HR) leaders feel largely the same – only 22% would characterise their workplace as having a high degree of fairness.
Gartner defines a high fairness environment as one where employees perceive that their manager and organization treat them fairly. The Gartner 2021 ReimagineHR Employee Survey of 3 500 employees conducted in 3Q21 found that employees who work in a high fairness environment perform at a level that is 26% higher than those who don’t and are 27% less likely to quit.
“Creating a fairer employee experience will be the most important initiative for HR executives in 2022,” says Brian Kropp, chief of research in the Gartner HR practice. “To do this, organisations need to go beyond policies and develop philosophies.”
Kropp says there are four areas that employers can develop strategies around to increase employee perceptions of fairness at work:
* Being Informed – The Gartner 3Q21 survey showed that only 33% of organisations practice true information transparency, even though nearly 70% of employees said that they would take one job offer over another based on the organisations’ transparency practices. Gartner’s research revealed that companies disseminate information unevenly.
* Feeling supported – When employees feel supported at work, they are more likely to indicate that they work in a high fairness environment. Organisations have tried to support employees by investing in well-being programs. In fact, a Gartner survey of 53 HR leaders between September and November 2020 found that 64% of respondents added or expanded well-being programs in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite these investments, most employees still don’t feel like they’re getting the support they need and deserve.
* Feeling considered – The Gartner 3Q21 survey revealed that only 18% of qualified employees are considered for the next opportunity when it emerges at their organisation. Most organisations have created referral programs that give access to opportunities for qualified external candidates based on a current employee’s referral, but they have not done this for internal candidates. Instead, organisations typically rely on managers, who are asked to consider more qualified candidates, or employees, who are encouraged to take initiative to raise their profile and build their own brand.
* Receiving acknowledgement – Accurate employee evaluation and recognition boosts employee perceptions of fairness, however the Gartner 3Q21 survey found only 24% of employees feel acknowledged for their contributions. Managers are typically called on to create this feeling of acknowledgement, but Gartner research reveals that in a hybrid environment, managers tend to favour on-site employees over remote employees. According to a Gartner November 2020 survey of nearly 3 000 managers, 64% said that on-site employees are higher performers, while 75% say that on-site employees are more likely to be promoted.
Progressive organisations are increasing their employees’ feelings of fairness by addressing the four factors above in the following ways:
* Dramatically increase the amount of information given to all employees and candidates, and ensure the information employees receive is actionable by providing them guidance on how to use the information.
* Expand support programs to all employees. Frame this support as an effort to create a more successful organisation with a better work environment and employee experience for everyone; help employees understand why different people are getting different support.
* Use peer networks to provide more equitable access to opportunities between those outside the organisation and those inside the organisation.
* Leverage technology to acknowledge the employees making the most important contributions. This includes ensuring employees are comfortable and consulted with the privacy implications of these technologies and, helping employees understand what behaviour changes will result in changes to their performance.
“Organisations that employ strategies to address these four factors can create a significant shift in the number of employees who feel like they have a fair experience at work – from fewer than in one in five employees to more than four in five employees,” says Kropp.