Maximising Fairness in Hybrid and Remote Work: the Critical Influence of Effective Managers

TED KITTERMAN

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TED KITTERMAN

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Consider these tips to avoid the pitfalls of an increasingly decentralized workplace culture.

Is there a crisis of unfairness in the workplace?

In a recent study from Gartner, 82% of employees said their work environment was unfair. The study went on to define the risks of unfairness: Employees in high-fairness environments perform at a level 26% higher than those who aren’t.

Fairness is a crucial piece of the Great Place To Work® model for high-trust workplace culture. Employees who don’t believe their environment is fair are unlikely to trust their leaders and their organization.

What makes a workplace fair?

In Great Place To Work research, when employees describe a fair workplace they focus on equity, impartiality, and justice.

“What employees told us was they needed to be in a place where rewards were equitable, where the environment was impartial, and where there was a sense of justice,” says Marcus Erb, vice president of data science and innovation at Great Place To Work.

Measures of fairness include:

  • Do employees feel treated fairly regardless of race, gender, age, or sexual orientation?
  • Do employees feel fairly compensated for their work?
  • Do employees perceive equal and fair opportunities for advancement?
  • Do employees see management as impartial?
  • Do employees feel they could appeal a manager’s decision and expect a fair hearing

Fairness is one of the dimensions of great workplace culture that even great companies struggle to exhibit.

“Even the best of the best have a difficult time making sure everybody feels that it’s a fair workplace,” Erb says.

Is fairness changing?

Even great companies struggle to create workplaces that employees perceive as fair. That hasn’t changed much over the last few years.

“On the whole, it’s pretty stable,” Erb says.

That might surprise those who predict hybrid and remote work will unravel the fabric of the traditional workplace. In many ways, hybrid and remote work have been seen as a leap forward in creating more inclusive and equitable working environments.

Fairness has always been an issue for workers — hybrid and remote work just redefine the ways unfairness can appear.

Erb offers some examples of how employees are assessing fairness in today’s workplace:

  • Do I have the same opportunity to work a hybrid schedule?
  • Is my pay consistent with the concerns around inflation and global economic trends?
  • Are people being treated here fairly regardless of their race?

This places an even higher importance on managerial communication for remote and hybrid workers.

“It puts more onus on the manager and that day-to-day interaction you might have with your leader to create that sense of inclusion and fairness every day,” Erb says. “That’s your touch point as an employee. You might not have any other barometer to assess if you are being included and treated as a valued part of the larger group.”

Fairness has always been an issue for workers — hybrid and remote work just redefine the ways unfairness can appear.

Managers playing favorites

The emphasis on managers’ role in fairness is growing, but it has always been essential in great workplace culture.

For the past 30 years, Great Place To Work research has identified the importance of managers not “playing favorites.”

In the world of hybrid and remote work, it’s harder than ever to build that sense of trust.

Erb advises that managers focus on communication and recognition to bolster strained relationships with their team.

“It’s sharing of information,” he says. “Are you getting the same news that everybody else is? Are you getting it at the same time? Is it an afterthought?”

When it comes to recognition, the problem is visibility. Workers who don’t get face time are concerned with how they might advance in their career, or feel their contributions go unnoticed.

“Managers now need to be even better at making sure everybody on the screen gets to speak up, nobody gets excluded, and everybody is informed,” Erb says.

Erb’s advice is for managers to be intentional and systematic. It might feel boring to speak with every employee one by one, checking them off your list, but it’s crucial for fairness.

“If you don’t do that, whoever is not checked off on your list, it’s going to affect them, slow them down — which will slow your team down eventually,” Erb says.

“Managers now need to be even better at making sure everybody on the screen gets to speak up, nobody gets excluded, and everybody is informed.” — Marcus Erb, vice president of data science and innovation at Great Place To Work.

The cost of unfairness

Just how big of a problem is unfairness for business leaders?

Gartner’s research shows that unfairness can damage productivity and overall work quality, but there are other costs that unfairness adds to your balance sheet. Gartner reports that employees in high fairness environments are 27% less likely to quit.

“If you don’t have fairness, you’re going to have retention and burnout issues,” Erb says. Workers who feel unfairly compensated, unincluded, or undervalued are going to look for other workplaces. Or they might “stay but quit,” and remain on payroll without contributing their full skillset to the organization.

Workers concerned with fairness aren’t innovating or giving extra effort, and that lack of trust can create a pernicious cycle.

“Rather than the issues your business needs to deal with, you’re just trying to get people past the fairness concerns so you can deal with the next immediate burning issue,” Erb says.

Fairness is also a key issue for workers during a recession. In Great Place To Work research, the ability of employees to feel treated as a full member of the organization was a key indicator for thriving businesses during the Great Recession of 2008 to 2010.

For business leaders in the months ahead, a fair workplace environment could be a key tool for weathering the rough waters of inflation and global economic downturn.

As Erb puts it: “In a time of crisis, do you come together or are you worried about fairness? If you’re worried about fairness, you’re going to go protect yourself. You’re not going to overreach and think about the whole entire business.”

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TED KITTERMAN

Ted Kitterman is a content manager for Great Place To Work®. Ted has experience covering the workplace, business communications, public relations, internal communications, work culture, employee well-being, brand purpose and more. His work shines a light on the unparalleled data and insights offered by Great Place to Work’s decades of research, helping the company share its vision of a great place to work For All™.

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying 2.1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting 5.9 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Bahrain, Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2022 or early 2023.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000+) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying over 1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting over 4.7 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2021 or early 2022.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Singapore 2023 Evaluation Methodology

This year, Great Place To Work® Singapore is proud to launch our inaugural Singapore Best Workplaces™ in Healthcare & Biopharma List. This list recognizes exemplary companies in the healthcare & biopharma industry.

Recognized as a global hub for medical technology and research, Singapore has attracted top healthcare and biopharma talents and companies from around the world. It has become the center for essential healthcare services and innovations with its world-class research institutes, academic medical centers, and industry clusters.

In turn, the healthcare and biopharma sectors play a critical role in the country’s economic competitiveness, sustainability, and innovation. These industries have significantly helped in the overall improvement of public health and well-being of the people of Singapore and its neighboring countries.

The inaugural Singapore Best Workplaces in Healthcare and Biopharma List puts the spotlight on the organizations that are dedicated to providing employee satisfaction and engagement, and their commitment to excellence in the industry.

The companies in our Great Place To Work Certified™ community have the premier distinction that helps attract the best talent, build your employer brand, and secure a competitive advantage. To achieve this, they built a working environment that is purpose-driven and people-first. These companies have demonstrated that showing authentic care, prioritizing employee’s holistic well-being, and building a culture of trust go hand in hand with growth and success.

To determine the 2023 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Healthcare and Biopharma, Great Place to Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore.Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place to Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place to Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry.The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced.To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place to Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place to Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Singapore 2023 Evaluation Methodology

To determine the 2023 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Technology, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry. The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category.

Methodology

This year, Great Place To Work™ Singapore is proud to launch our inaugural Singapore Best Workplaces in Technology List. This List recognizes exemplary companies in the information and communication technologies industry in four categories:

  • Micro category (10–29 employees)
  • Small (30-99 employees)
  • Medium (100-999 employees)
  • Large (> 1000 employees)

With Singapore’s ambition to be recognized as a regional technology hub, the influx of technology firms (around 80 of the world’s top 100 technology firms have a presence here) and global rankings that place us a leading technology hub outside of San Francisco, the establishment of a Singapore Best Workplaces List in Technology is indeed a timely and needed one. Technology firms in Singapore are characterized by hyper-growth and ambitious expansion plans. This means a continuous war for talent in a highly competitive and rapidly evolving industry.

To maintain our lead as a technology and innovation hub, the ability to attract, retain and sustain skilled talent is critical. We are proud that companies in our Great Place To Work®-Certified community List have built a high-trust culture, engaged employees and maximized their potential to facilitate innovation. They are purpose-driven and adopt a people-first mindset. These are companies that have shown that authentic care and employee well-being need not be compromised for ambitious growth, and that it is possible for businesses to scale up quickly and responsibly. Their culture and core values are embodied in every individual—from senior leadership to rank-and-file employees—and differentiate them from their competitors, priming them to be powerful magnets for top talent.

To determine the 2022 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Technology, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore.Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry.The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category

 

Methodology

To determine the 2022 Singapore’s Best Workplaces™️, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing close to 70,000 employees across different industries in Singapore. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place to Work For All™️. 85% of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do.

Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical in their industry. The remaining 15% of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Companies with 10-29 people were considered for the Micro category; those with 30 to 99 people for the Small category; companies with 100 to 999 employees were considered for the Medium category; and those with 1,000 or more for the Large category.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Singapore 2023 Evaluation Methodology

To determine the 2023 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Technology, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry. The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category