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  • Kelly Mansfield
  • 1 November 2016
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The importance of being fair

The observance of World Values Day in October has raised greater awareness of the importance of good values – not just as individuals but as teams and managers in the workplace. The event, supported by key industry organisations such as the CIPD and the Wellbeing at Work Event, also held this month, highlights that values play a significant role in our lives, including helping us to ‘make better choices in life, develop healthy patterns of behaviour, and form and maintain meaningful personal relationships. With values we know where we are going, we take responsibility for our actions, we are motivated and empowered.’

Kelly Mansfield

Kelly Mansfield

When applying this to the workplace, World Values Day organisers claim that ‘Managers and leaders will discover that mobilising their team to join together to examine their shared values and to put them into action is a powerful way for organisations to strengthen vital relationships. Involve your colleagues, customers, suppliers and all your other stakeholders.’

Shared values – ensuring that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet – can also lead to greater productivity. In line with the focus on values, ACAS has developed seven levers, which provide a practical framework for workplaces to help them become more productive, including trust, employee voice and rights and responsibilities. This month looks at fairness.

‘Everybody wants to feel valued and that they are treated in a consistent and even-handed way,’ ACAS states, going on to advise that unfair treatment or the perception of unfairness can lead to:

  • a toxic workplace culture where bullying and other negative behaviours go unchecked; and
  • high absence levels due to workplace stress or accusations of discrimination.

Whereas, ACAS says, tackling head-on the challenges posed by perceived unfairness can:

  • promote diversity and respect;
  • improve levels of motivation and engagement;
  • deal directly with stress caused by high workloads or lack of management support;
  • promote a better understanding of individuals 'in the round' and help improve work life balance; and
  • ensure fair pay, especially as businesses start to grow.

Of course, being fair in the workplace isn’t just about possessing good values – it’s also a legal necessity under legislation such as the Equality Act 2010, which prohibits all forms of discrimination, including (to name just a few) disability discrimination, equal pay, religion or belief and harassment.