Studies show that a staggering number of workers feel they are victims of injustice at work. It is a phenomenon which has affected many fields of business since the early 2000s. Tips and advice to turn things around.
If Judith has the impression that she is paid less than Karim for equivalent work, she will have a feeling of unfairness. The same goes for Pascal if he perceives that his work is never recognized for its true value while François is praised for a lesser investment. In these cases, as in many others, the feeling of being treated unfairly will likely lead to a decrease in motivation and commitment, or even a certain negligence.
It even affects employees’ psychological health. Unfairness at work can even favour musculoskeletal disorders. This is demonstrated by a recent study by the Toulouse School of Management, reported by the daily Le Monde. Other research had also identified a link between unfairness at work and sleep disorders.
In a recent book titled Le management juste (Fair Management), organizational behaviour researcher Thierry Nadisic reiterated that in 2018 the feeling of unfairness remains one of the greatest threats to employee engagement. The phenomenon has been documented for close to 20 years throughout the West.
In Quebec, a consultation conducted in May 2018 with employees of the health network by the Fédération de la santé et des services sociaux (FSSS–CSN) pointed to a problem of lack of recognition, which is often linked to issues of equity – particularly due to the increased salary granted to doctors, while other members of the network do not benefit from it.
So, how to be fair?
“If the company treats people fairly, they will feel useful, cooperate, feel confident,” writes Thierry Nadisic. The most apparent unfairness, in his opinion, is inequitable distribution of salaries. It is easy to correct, or at least to be more transparent with staff about the reasons behind disparities.
“Procedural unfairness” is also easy to avoid, by ensuring that everyone involved has a voice when it comes to making a major decision. Interactions then need to be managed: managers have the duty to interact with each employee in a relatively equal manner.
How to be healed from a feeling of unfairness
Of you heel that you are being treated unfairly at work, you need to talk about it! If you are not yet ready to tackle your boss, at least slip in a word to your psychiatrist or loved ones. Listening to them will do you good. The feeling of unfairness is a psychological disorder that must be taken seriously, for your personal well-being!