Promoting fairness at work
We all have responsibility to act as a positive role model and to treat everyone with whom we deal fairly and with respect. In this section we look at the ways in which we can promote Fairness at Work.
Roles, responsibilities and standards of behaviour
All members of staff have a duty to adhere to this policy and to:
- act as a positive role model for others
- ensure that everyone is valued and treated fairly and with respect
- understand and observe the expected standards and to seek clarity about standards when unsure
- monitor their own behaviour and consider how it might affect others, refraining from acting, or from inciting other members of staff to act, in ways which could cause offence or harm
- take positive action to resolve misunderstanding and voice concerns if they witness inappropriate behaviour
- actively and positively engage with the organisation, its teams and employers.
Teams have a responsibility for fulfilling all of the above duties and, in addition, share responsibility for ensuring that all team members are:
- listened to
Managers/Supervisors have, in addition to the above, a duty to maintain a positive and safe work environment that is free from inappropriate behaviour by:
- ensuring that all members of staff are informed about the Fairness at Work Policy and the expected standards
- being consistent and fair
- encouraging positive behaviour and involving staff in creating a culture of fairness at work
- listening to and looking into the concerns of members of staff and involving all parties in developing solutions to problems and disputes
- intervening promptly to address unacceptable behaviour
- taking complaints seriously, treating them confidentially and following the correct procedure
- considering the impact of a member of staff’s behaviour on other staff
Engagement and communication
Engaging staff during a period of major change is a huge challenge for our organisation.
Research shows that rapid change may lead individuals to feel overwhelmed or left behind. This is especially true in the Isle of Man Government where many staff have worked there for many years.
Concerns are also heightened when some changes are outside of the control of individual organisations or may even result in the organisation they work for being abolished.
There are some actions that can be taken to mitigate the impact of change and seek to engage staff:
- Communicate well
Response to change is dependent on how the changes are communicated – use briefings to alleviate worries and to support your staff
- Maintain staff engagement
Focus on service delivery as it is key to motivating staff – your priority as a team will be to continue to provide high quality services
- listen to concerns and reassure your staff they are being heard
- take feedback
- communicate updates in a timely manner – be consistent in your message and communication
- act with integrity and be open about any risks
- Develop resilience
Maintain your own high performance and encourage a positive workplace culture
Resilience is about staying positive and strong even when facing challenges.
Maintain your own high performance and a positive workplace culture, even when facing difficult times, high pressured workloads or misfortune.
As a manager you can help your team become more resilient and bounce back from problems by helping them avoid:
- rust-out – not enough work, boredom, no challenge
- burn-out – too much work, pressure, stress
Try to help your team as a whole to maintain a balance in between rust-out and burn-out to keep them engaged, in control of their workloads and foster their own sense of purpose.
You can use the strengths of your team by:
- focusing on areas that are working well, develop clear team values and goals
- developing the strengths of your staff alongside any weak points
- fostering positivity, make your staff feel good when they are doing what they are good at to give them a sense of purpose
- ensuring your team know where they can get support, and help them to positive workplace culture
- being flexible, adaptable and open to ideas and change
- identifying staff in your team who are strong in one of the following – problem solving / decision making / interpersonal skills / motivation – variety will make your team stronger
As a manager part of your role will be to occasionally deal with conflict between staff – you can have a significant influence on the culture within your area.
As a manager, you will have potentially difficult or challenging conversations with staff from time to time. Act when this is needed, taking an honest, open approach.
Being consistent will ensure expectations are clear to all.
Listen and support
Supporting and empowering individual employees will strengthen the whole team. Try to set aside time to be available for your staff or team members or if your own workload restricts this, allow for a minimum period of time during the week when you will be available and let your staff know. This reinforces that they are important because you have made them your priority.
Often knowing this time is available if they need it can be enough to make your employees feel valued.
Manage the person, not their issue
Work with them to help them find a way forward, for example, what impact is this having? What could you do about it? What will you do about it? Keep an eye on your team’s workload to ensure what they are expected to deliver is realistic within the timescales.
Rather than taking problems off the employee, build up their resilience instead by empowering them to find the solution.
Keep things in perspective
Sometimes, both staff and managers come up against tough challenges and it feels like things are against you. However, being the voice of reason for your staff can prevent these concerns escalating.
Be ready to ask your staff what alternative perspective could there be. What is their perception based on? What do they want to do to move forward?
Setup your managers' toolbox
As a manager, you won't have all the answers and shouldn’t expect yourself to. What you can do is know who else your employee can approach to assist them. This could include HR, OH, LEaD, Staff Welfare, health and safety reps etc.
Keeping your colleagues informed of where they can seek the help they might need will help them feel more supported.
Create a culture of openness and engagement
A good manager will lead their team by example. Ensure you set clear goals and expectations for your team, so you are all working toward the same purpose. Try to make your staff feel valued and involved in your organisation and give them opportunities to feed back their views.
Make time for positive reinforcement – say 'thank you' often.
Finally, take steps to manage your own personal health and wellbeing and to build up your resilience.
Role of the line manager
Listening is key. Put yourself in your staff member’s shoes and think about how you might feel and what you would want your manager to say and do.
- you have significant influence on your team's behaviour
- lead by example, follow the policy and act as a positive role model
- be fair, consistent, sensitive and confidential with your team
- foster an open and inclusive team culture
Best practice and research shows that competent line managers can contribute positively to the experience of employees. Improving your softer skills will assist you in managing and developing your team.
Here are some useful pointers that you could be doing or working towards:
- keep accurate records of any issues using organisation policies and procedures
- be on the lookout for trends or warning signs
- escalate issues and source support for staff where appropriate in a timely manner
- ensure your team know the policies, behaviour and engagement expected of them
- ensure your team know to take responsibility for their own behaviour
- don't put off difficult conversations
- don't cancel meetings with your staff unless completely unavoidable