Why Fairness Is A Vital Element Of Any Change Process
There’s probably no single recipe for getting procedural fairness right during any organizational change, like redundancy. However, research suggests fairness is a useful predictor of the sorts of reactions that can be expected from staff who lose their jobs during a redundancy.
Fairness needs to be included in any plan during workplace changes because it is an indicator of whether your decisions will invite personal grievances or not. For example, if you asked yourself the following four questions, your risk of Personal Grievances would drop dramatically. Ask yourself;
Are we using a fair decision-making process?
Are we treating all employees fairly during the process, with politeness, dignity, and respect?
Are we providing clear explanations to employees about why and how decisions are being made?
Were the decisions we made as to whose position was made redundant, fair?
If your answers were no to any of the above, you are inviting avoidable trouble into your workplace.
It appears that there is a connection between the 4 points above.
It was found that employees are more willing to accept an unpopular decision (3 above) if it has been made through a fair process (1 above) and explained in a sincere and meaningful way (2 above).
So why wouldn’t you practice fairness during a time when all employees are stressed.
Does fairness matter?
Procedural fairness in employment law is a strong predictor of whether employees will raise a PG after a redundancy process. If the decision-making is poor, a PG is likely.
If the outcomes were for an unfair reason, like getting rid of an employee that was disliked in the workplace despite their work being of a high standard, it is predictable that even if your process was fair, this will not prevent a PG from being raised.
If the process is consistent, unbiased, ethical, correctable and affected parties are fully consulted, then the chances of PG’s are highly predictable as low.
Fairness Prevents Resentment and Personal Grievances
Treating affected staff with politeness, dignity and respect greatly reduces the chances of PGs being raised.
Discussing feedback about change with affected staff is fair also greatly reduces PG’s. Likewise, outlining why and how decisions were made helps employees with acceptance of the decision.
Achieving procedural fairness is not a breeze. Building a process that is fair takes time and effort.
But breaching the procedural fairness part of the redundancy process unfairly is not worth the financial burden to your business, the time it takes to deal with a grievance or the way a negative court outcome can affect your business reputation. Our advice to our many employer’s clients is to do it once and do it well. And be fair.