Fairness is Fun!

Posted October 30, 2012 by Marcy Twete in On the Ladder

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a session for entrepreneurs about splitting equity between investors. And in the middle of the session, I had an a-ha moment. When it comes to equity, everyone involved in starting a business just wants everything to be fair. The same goes for the workplace. What we really want, as employees, as women, as people….is fairness. We want to be paid fairly, treated fairly, praised fairly, and deal with mistakes fairly. Why, though, is this so difficult for many employers? And why are we constantly from adolescence to adulthood left saying, “That’s not fair!”?

To really embrace fairness in your business and your life, I’m giving you a few things to think about:

  • Fairness is flexible. The presenter I was listening to is the author of “Slicing Pie: Funding Your Company Without Funds.” His contention is that you want equity to be split fairly, but you need to first go through a long process of determining who’s putting in how much energy and effort and resources, and find flexibility in your equity. The same goes for colleagues and bosses. You can’t start on a fair playing field from the beginning. You have to first take time to watch how each of you is interacting and be flexible at the beginning.
  • Fairness has rules. Fairness only ever works if everyone agrees at the beginning to the rules of what’s fair. So establish them early with your team and be consistent across the board.
  • Fairness means open communication. Usually when we’re saying “That’s not fair,” it’s because we don’t understand the process undertaken to come to a decision. If your bonus this year sucks compared to last year, it’s easy to say there’s an issue of fairness. But perhaps you don’t understand the real background of the decision for the company. To keep things fair, you must communicate openly and honestly with your staff.

Can fairness ultimately affect your happiness in your job? We think so. If you believe you’re being treated fairly, that’s much more important than being treated well. Fairness is fun! Implement these tips in your team and you may see they’re more apt to give it all they’ve got.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."