Be consistent when treating employees

All employees’ concerns should be heard before job decisions are made. FILE PHOTO | NMG
All employees’ concerns should be heard before job decisions are made. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Muriithi and Omar work in the energy sector with undergraduate degrees from JKUAT and Kenyatta University respectively earned in 2007.

Mr Muriithi enjoys his career in the sector while Mr Omar dreams of escaping into the international energy field. Both employees joined the firm in different months within 2009.

Over the past eight years, Mr Muriithi frequently rates the company higher on staff perception surveys than Mr Omar. Both men report to Mrs Akinyi who leads the Project Development team since 2013.

During a recent human resource audit of the department, external consultants grew puzzled at why two men with almost identical qualifications and experience could hold such drastically different levels of job satisfaction despite equal salaries.

On the surface, the consultants could not find any discrepancies. However, upon digging deeper through staff interviews in the department, it turned out that Mrs Akinyi tended to invite Mr Muriithi to comment on departmental strategy and valued his corporate opinions.

Additionally, she tended to give him more impromptu unreported leave days than Mr Omar and other employees.

It turned out that both Mrs Akinyi and Mr Muriithi’s families knew each other for years having done business together in Mombasa during their parents’ generation.

Mr Omar and the other employees picked up on the disparity and felt slighted thus decreasing their job satisfaction and therefore their work output.

Researchers call what Mr Omar suffered from as a failure of procedural justice in the firm. Social scientists Russell Cropanzano, David Bowen, and Stephen Gilliland define procedural justice as the appropriateness of the allocation process, whether formal or informal.

Continuing with Business Talk’s multi-week series on organisational fairness within firms, let us delve into procedural justice’s components.

Procedural justice holds the following six constructs. First, consistency; whether all employees receive the same treatment. Second, lack of bias in that no one person or groups of people in the firm get singled out for discrimination or ill treatment.

Third, accuracy whereby decisions within the entity originate from accurate information. Fourth, does the firm represent all concerned fairly such that appropriate stakeholders have input into a decision that affects them.

Firth, do ethical standards conform to norms of professional conduct. Sixth, does the company accept correction in that an appeals processes exist or other mechanisms are in place for fixing mistakes.

In our above example, Mr Omar and his colleagues experienced a lack of consistency, lack of input into strategic decisions, and the presence of bias.

Now, let us examine your own workplace utilising Sania Usmani and Siraj Jamal’s fairness factor loading research. Please rate the following five statements on a five-point scale with whether you 1) strongly disagree, 2) disagree, 3) neither agree nor disagree, 4) agree, or 5) strongly agree.

My supervisor clarifies decisions and provides additional information when requested by employees; To make job decisions, my supervisor collects accurate and complete information; My supervisor makes sure that all employee concerns are heard before Job decisions are made; All jobs decisions are applied consistently to all affected employees ;Employees are allowed to challenge or appeal job decisions made by their supervisors.

Next, please total up each of the numbers that you assigned to the five statements and divide by five.

If you rated your work environment on average above four, then congratulations! You found an employer that values unbiased consistency applied to each employee.