About the metric

Fairness in the workplace refers to an aspect of organizational justice with regards to both process and outcome impartiality. Some of the factors that support fair treatment in the workplace include mutual respect, strong interpersonal relationships and honest communication.  Individuals who feel they’re being treated unfairly in the workplace can have low morale, reduced productivity, and poor job satisfaction. It can also result in high turnover.  On the other hand, individuals who feel they are treated well by their managers and organizations are often motivated to perform at higher levels. They have a greater sense of team spirit and overall job satisfaction.  Individuals who feel valued and are treated fairly at work  are better engaged and more productive.

Importantly, there also is a structural component to fairness.  This requires an organization to work on creating equitable and transparent systems and implement processes that allow for fairness to all.

Why fairness matters at Cornell University?

At Cornell University, it is important for all of us to know that we’re valued, that our work matters, and that we are compensated fairly for our efforts. We also want to work in an organization and an environment where we’re confident that we will have opportunities to grow, develop, participate and be heard. We also want to be empowered to contribute in a meaningful way. When faculty and staff feel Cornell is invested in their success and that they have equitable opportunities, they’re better able to focus their energy on performance.

Our institutional processes, operations and systems need to be inclusive and free from bias. We need to consistently and routinely examine our structure and processes to ensure that they are fair to all faculty and staff.

Additionally, it is important to balance flexibility and understand that, on an individual level, fair treatment doesn’t necessarily mean treating individuals the same.  Each individual at Cornell University is unique.  They have different needs, performance levels, personalities, work styles, motivations, and goals. When you honor their differences, you will be more likely to honor each person for who they really are.

Actions and initiatives

  • Provide equal opportunity for all. Reaffirm that everyone will receive an equal opportunity for development and to be recognized.
  • Incorporate objectivity. Use clear, objective, predetermined criteria to make work decisions such as promotions, distributing project assignments and opportunities  to attend conferences.
  • Be transparent and open. Be transparent about how decisions are made and the factors that are considered.
  • Welcome and encourage feedback. Cultivate an environment where people are comfortable sharing feedback.

Resources and Readings