by Danyca Wallis & Casper de Waal, SmartPractice | 30 March 2022 

“When you treat others fairly two things happen. Your employees notice and respect you for it. Your reputation for fair play reinforces their belief in you. Second, the people who you treat fairly will respond in kind. You are teaching through your actions and modelling the behaviour of ‘fairness’ in the workplace.” – The Balance

Being treated fairly in a workplace is often something that managers and colleagues battle with. There is a fine line between being treated fairly and also keeping a friendly yet professional working environment. With respect and professionalism kept in mind, when fairness is met, your staff performance will improve drastically. If you want to better the way you treat your staff or colleagues, you can take a few notes below.



Fairness in respect for your employees.

When employees are respected in the workplace, they will return the favour. This respect goes up and down the corporate ladder from employees to managers to directors and all the way back. Selective respect toward certain staff members creates an extremely uncomfortable environment to work in, indirectly implying favouritism. Playing favourites is not something which will sit right amongst colleagues, if the rules apply to one, they should apply equally to all. This includes respect.


Fairness of salaries and wages.

It’s a well-known fact that America is seeing an enormous amount of resignations even after Covid’s devastating job losses. One of the attributing factors is the growing gap between wages and surging prices. Employees just won’t stay if the remuneration isn’t in line with the market and previous buying power. We might not be in America, but trends usually spill over to other countries and yes, it is a workers’ market. They are in control and the market is definitely not as flexible as it was the last couple of years. To Conclude, handle your salary and wage bill with the attention and fairness and reap the benefits.


Fairness towards the work environment.

With COVID pushing the agenda of “work at home”, employers scrambled to sort out staff, mostly in very little to no time. Now that we are getting used to it, we need to handle the unique positions within the company fair and just with clear communication. We should address staff formally about why and how your hybrid working environment will operate. This, of course, is just one of the lenient measurements companies are taking and will take in the future. Looking at a holistic approach towards your staff with families is another one.  

If you are unsure about how your staff feel regarding fair treatment, hold monthly one-on-one meetings or set out surveys for staff to complete and take action on the results to make a change if anyone is feeling unfairly treated.



Treat people how they would like to be treated. When you have people in a workplace with distinct personality types, different goals, morals or aspirations, it makes it a bit more difficult to treat them the way you would like to be treated.

Don’t pick a favourite. The biggest mistake managers make is picking a favourite staff member and letting them get away with almost anything. When other staff members see this, they immediately feel unfairly treated. Be sure to manage your staff with the same mindset.

The same rules apply to all. If one staff member can take off early to fetch their child, the others should also be allowed to. The same goes for any other rules made in the workplace. It would leave a bitter taste in staff members’ mouths if the rules only applied to some.

Make changes when they are needed to be made. If your staff note that there is unfair treatment, be proactive and make changes before the environment your staff work in becomes too uncomfortable to stay in.



"Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients." - Richard Branson

When staff are treated fairly, you will see a big change in their work performance. When your staff’s performance is better, your clients receive positive service. If you need to change your workplace, make use of the SmartPractice User Productivity Report to track how things change. You will see if more time was logged, if their productivity % increases, as well as their recoverability %. Note where your staff were before changes were made and then again 1-3 months after. If nothing changes, have discussions with your staff to see what more they can do to make the working environment better for them to improve their performance. Also, use this report as part of your performance appraisal. It is a clear-cut method that can treat everyone equally.


Whether you are a manager or staff member, be sure to speak out about how you feel in the workplace. If you feel unfairly treated, take action and have discussions with your managers, HR, or colleagues. Change will not come from silence. Be sure to also treat those around you in the workplace with fairness, because the way you treat others in a working environment may just create a ripple effect for positive change.


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