Organisational Fitness, Diversity & Inclusion, Remote Working

D&I Survey: what Trust & Fairness looks like in practice

Steffi Maranan

Inclusion is a topic we often discuss at Qlearsite and is one of the most important things that we measure within an organisation. Safety & Access, Trust & Fairness, Belonging, and Acceptance are factors that contribute to the overall inclusion experience. In this article we’ll be focusing on Trust & Fairness, and why it’s important to consider when looking at how included people feel.

Trust & Fairness is where everyone has confidence that processes and procedures can be trusted and leaders or those in authority will act appropriately, without bias. This can be further broken down into three key areas: Process, Leadership, and Opportunity.  

Process

Process looks at whether internal structures and processes are fair and even-handed – where employees feel the organisation would take timely and appropriate action if a personal issue or complaint was raised.

This is especially important when considering that every individual will have different needs, responsibilities, and ways of working. Organisations should be equipped to respond to people’s needs or concerns and considered equally against all other employees. 

If employees don’t feel as though their concerns are heard, it’ll be harder for them to have an inclusive experience – especially if they feel  they are being treated unfairly in comparison to other colleagues, regarding any alterations within their work-life.

Process in practice

The recent surge in the number of remote workers has highlighted just how much everyone’s needs differ, with the majority of employees advocating for a hybrid style of working in the future. Research has shown that 62% of people would like to work in a hybrid fashion and 27% would like to work remotely all of the time. 

Prior to the pandemic, if employees had the opportunity to work from home there were more rigid processes and criteria for it to happen – however organisations are more open to this style of working now, due to its positive effects on work-life balance as well as productivity. That being said, it was found that 23% of people didn’t think they’ll be allowed to work their preference, which is a significant amount of employees who feel as though their needs aren’t being considered.  

Leadership

Trust in leadership is key to the employee experience, especially when it comes to inclusion. Employees should feel as though they can trust their leaders to stand up for and do what is right – particularly when it relates to the organisation’s fundamental values. The experience of inclusion can be eroded when employees feel as though leadership actions don’t align with purpose and values – especially if the core value in question is to do with diversity and inclusion.

When employees are shown that leaders mean what they say and take action in alignment with core values, trust is built and they feel more included in your organisation.

Leadership in practice:

A recent example is how leaders of organisations reacted to the George Floyd murder and the Black Lives Matter campaign last year. Many showed their support by making vague statements and posting on their social media accounts, however much of that could be considered solely performative. It’s great to say the right thing, however doing the right thing as a leader is what matters most to employees.

Cisco CEO, Chuck Robbins announced the company would donate $5 million to Equal Justice Initiative, NAACP Legal Defence Fund, Color of Change and Black Lives Matter – as well as its own fund. In addition, CEO of IBM, Arvind Krishna announced in a letter to Congress that IBM will no longer sell or develop general-purpose facial recognition technology, as it has been shown to be less accurate when identifying black faces, which would reinforce racial bias should the technology be used for policing. 

Opportunity

Opportunities and recognition should be distributed equally and fairly among employees, and without any bias. It goes without saying that equality in these areas should be standard practice – any kind of bias or favouritism implies that an organisation lacks inclusion. If people see others being treated differently to them, they’re more likely to feel alienated rather than included within your organisation.

Opportunity in practice:

Recognition is an integral part of the employee experience – a study found that 37% of respondents cited recognition as the most important thing a manager or company could do that would help employees be successful. However that being said, some people may feel as though recognition isn’t equal in the workplace. 

If we take the hybrid style of working as an example, this could hinder career development and opportunities for those who aren’t physically in the office as much as their colleagues. Groups of people who tend to work remotely are women, older employees, and those with disabilities. If employees aren’t getting equal recognition this can hinder their experiences in the workplace and impact their engagement and feelings of inclusion. 

Recent findings revealed that of those who reported experiencing workplace bias – 33% felt alienated, 34% withhold ideas and solutions and 80% would not refer people to their employer. While workplace bias training has been rolled into different organisations, there’s still a long way to go.


Trust & Fairness directly impacts how included employees feel in an organisation so it’s important to make yourselves aware, and take necessary steps to ensure Process, Leadership, and Opportunity are being nurtured and held to a high standard.

For more information about our Diversity & Inclusion survey please click here

 

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