Imagine a football match with eleven average but hardworking and ideally collaborating players in one team, and another team consisting of eleven individuals, where everyone wants to show their power, no matter if they behave correctly. What do you think? Which team do work better? Superstars don’t win the game. Apart from tactics, hours of training, and skills, the key to success is fairness. Now there appears a question, how does it relate to the workplace, and why is it important to be fair? This article will discuss the ways you can play fair at work and examples of how to promote it.
What does fairness mean?
At first, let’s check how it looks in theory. According to the definition from Cambridge Dictionary, fairness means the quality of treating people equally or in a way that is right or reasonable. Diving deeper into it, fair does not mean equal. Fairness does not mean that everybody gets what they want. Instead, it means that everybody in the group has an equal opportunity to benefit. And what is crucial, companies should create such an environment for their employees that enable them to play fair and to feel treated fairly.
How to be fair at work
It’s natural that people are different, have different points of view, and behave differently. And this is a beautiful thing about life! There would be deadly dull if we were all the same. However, it is important to respect others and just to be fair. At Tidio, “play fair” is one of our four core values.
🔎 Read more: Check out Tidio’s core values.
Let’s look at the “play fair” one more in-depth and start a short trip through examples of how you can show fairness in the workplace:
#1 Treat others as you want to be treated
It is important to treat people well. It means respecting others and accepting somebody who they are, even when they're different from you or have a different opinion. You don’t have to agree with somebody to understand them; the point is to find a place of mutual understanding.
When you express your opinion, the aim shouldn’t be to persuade people to your way of thinking but to create a space for discussion. While interacting with others, consider how you would want others to treat you. Fairness in the workplace begins with the same standards of respect for all. Always wear the other’s shoes and behave in harmony with yourself.
#2 Don’t forget about feedback
As the players pass the ball at the match, we should exchange feedback at the workplace, whether positive or negative. It is any information given to others (formally or informally) about their engagement or skills. Both managers and peers can deliver feedback, and when done well, it helps to create a stronger, more harmonious workplace.
It's nice to tell someone they did an excellent job on some task, speaking precisely about what you enjoyed and learned. For example, at Tidio, we give kudos. How does it look in practice? We write a spontaneous post on the internal website, such as:
It’s both for feedback and recognition. Do you like it? 😇
The same goes for negative feedback. Be constructive, focus on specific behaviors that can be changed, and suggest improvements. No matter how you do it - on Slack, e-mail, or during the meeting - it always has to be fair.
💡 Read more: Learn how to give constructive feedback with tips & examples.
#3 Be assertive
Assertive means being confident to express yourself and care for your needs while remaining empathetic, respectful, and appropriate.
How to do it?
Don’t be afraid to talk openly about your plans or ask for help when needed. Be open and transparent, and make your boundaries while people expect more from you than you can handle. Saying “no” is fairer than not filling the task.
Yes, I know, easy to say… But the crucial is to take action and practice!
#4 Have an open dialogue
Make sure you communicate frequently and share as much information as possible. People feel mistreated and left out when others are in the know and they are not. Having an open dialogue helps to build a sense of trust between you and your colleagues. A healthy relationship includes good communication, fairness, and trust, so do your best to keep communication well.
For example, if you have a deadline for a project and you won’t meet it for some reason, don’t be afraid of talking about it with your manager. Maybe together you will find the solution? Don’t lie, and don’t hide information. Just be transparent. This practice helps you foster fair play and safe workplaces.
#5 Be a listener
Can you see the difference between listening and hearing? At first glimpse, both are similar. But it's not the same! When you hear the sound, it doesn't have to mean that you listen to it. Let's focus on the ability to listen. It means paying attention to what you hear, how someone communicates, language and voice, and how the other person uses their body. It requires you to be focused and concentrated on the speaker.
But, how to do it well?
Allow others to say what they want to say. Don’t interrupt, and create a comfortable zone to talk.
And just listen to the speaker because listening is one of the easiest ways to make people feel valued and promote fairness and equity in the company. Don’t listen to some people and not others, but treat everyone equally to maintain trust. Knowing that you care about others' opinions makes people feel important and respected.
How to promote fairness?
Creativity has no boundaries, so there are countless ideas for promoting fairness. I want to share an example of how we did it at Tidio. We organized an internal competition called #CoreValuesCompetitors. We believe that each is equally important, so we wanted to reward Tidioers who proved that values are not only empty words. During the contest, Tidioers nominate their colleagues for having represented Tidio's four values in their daily work. The winners are chosen by their teammates in the anonymous vote, and as an award, get the most wanted & iconic GOLDEN KUBOTA SLIPPERS. Sounds fancy? ⭐
Let’s check one of the #PlayFair nominations:
"Kacper has proved that he is able to help in crisis situations. This year he saved Christmas(!) by providing help with the delivery of gifts for a Christmas event in Warsaw :) Small gestures but confirm that he is a real Tidioer who is always willing to help with a helping hand."
As you can see, small things build significant memories. And achieve a gold award!
A recipe for a good work environment
Going to another example of a company that pays attention to play fair value, let’s see how Marco Alverà - businessman, also known as a “fairness crusader” - organized it. He claims that fairness is a surprising ingredient that makes businesses work better.
Companies should strive to create a culture of openness and opinions, to make their employees feel comfortable, no matter who they are or what position they held. People are social animals so we need to be a part of a community. And thanks to fair rules for everyone, we are encouraged to play fair!
It’s all about organizational culture!
To sum up, what we discussed, the basis of play fair rule is the company culture. We can find several examples of fair and unfair situations in each business worldwide. Still, the point is to promote those fair ones and educate and encourage their employees to participate in fair activities. So the company should provide their employees with a great field to play, and they should follow the rules reasonably.