Embracing a high degree of Organizational Justice

LightCastle Analytics Wing
June 20, 2015
Embracing a high degree of Organizational Justice

In today’s business realm, quality human capital is vital as it is a catalyst when it comes to driving business growth, innovation and competitiveness. Firms are splashing more and more resources to make sure they are not only in the employees’ good books but also retain them, nurture them, develop them and accommodate their needs. The investment is necessary. Social, technological, demographic shifts warrant that businesses react accordingly. For these they need engaged employees to veer them through the right thoroughfares. Indeed, employee engagement will be one of key challenges businesses have to confront in the coming years. However, in the employee engagement equation there are plethora of variables, one of them being organizational justice.
Organizational justice refers to an employee’s perceptions of fairness in an organization. This phenomenon has three types- distributive, procedural and interactional. It encompasses a lot of variables- performance appraisal, conflict management, etc. So in large organizations ensuring a high degree of organizational justice can be somewhat difficult. But injustice will come at a price, a heavy price to be more specific. Organizational injustice can easily outweigh the positive effects and vibe all pro-employee programs an organization may put in place- 360 degree feedback, 360 degree employee appraisals, customized training programs, a wide variety of perks both financial and non-financial. For example, promotion based on seniority rather than performance is likely to demotivate star performers. Again, when bosses fail to appreciate the effort of particular employees, these employees are likely to be put off. Lack of respect in the workplace will also have negative repercussions on employee motivation. Organizational injustice is therefore counterproductive, forging adverse outcomes-such as high employee turnover, a blow to the reputation of a firm (which could ultimately hit its bottom lines) degrading the firm’s ability to recruit new talent.
Distributive justice concerns the fairness of outcomes. It is based on three principles- equality, equity and need. As far as equality is concerned, every employee of an organization must be treated with respect, love and importance. Firms must strive to make sure that every employee is safe and is in a comfortable setting. These require strong commitments from top management, a strong organizational culture is necessary and a certain investment is also required. It is also important to maintain principles of equity, for example- rewarding employees based on their contributions. This entails the deployment of strong oversight systems and internal control measures such as 360 degree appraisals, using more than one supervisors to assess individuals etc. The principle of need based justice is difficult to adhere to as it requires customization and lots of analysis. But it is pivotal in a sense that by proving rewards based on employee’s needs, a firm is actually catering to the needs in a more decisive way. Firms, for example, tweak employee perks in ways which will benefit the employee as a whole, again it can conduct personnel profiling, surveys and conduct psychographic tests to better understand the needs of employees.
Procedural justice concerns the fairness of processes which lead to outcomes. A high degree of procedural justice comprises a lot of factors such as-consistency, accuracy, representation of the relevant stakeholders, unbiasedness, availability of remedial measures and the presence of ethical norms. In order to entrench such metrics into an organization’s decision making process, it is important to emphasize its needs, the top management needs to push vigorously for such measures to be established. The companies may introduce detailed protocols to follow in order to reach certain outcomes. For example, while promoting employees, supervisors will look at the following factors-scores in the KPIs, ability of the employee to think outside the box, client feedback and workers feedback. Such protocols will give direction and clarity to the supervisors hence enabling them to achieve consistency. Accuracy of the decision making can augmented via rigorous research. For decisions which need to be taken quickly, accuracy can be ensured by deploying experienced teams. It is also important to have a strong code of ethics as well as the system of anonymous reporting. Regular audits into the decision making process is a must and finally the views of employees must be incorporated into the decision making process.
Interactional justice relates to the fairness through which employees are treated. Treating employees nicely, helping them go through rough patches by means of soothing and motivational rhetoric can work wonders on the team morale.
The impact of organizational justice cannot be overstated. An organization with proper justice systems will provide rich dividends in the form of better trust and commitment among employees, higher productivity, better customer satisfaction, more cohesiveness among team members etc.
Having said that, organizations in Bangladesh must look forward to ways to increase perceptions of justice. They can adopt certain policies mentioned above and also others such as incorporating intensive personality, empathy tests in the recruitment process. Again, they may open hotlines to accommodate employee grievance and complaints; employees must also be given a platform to evaluate their supervisors. Also, employees must be given access to more information in this way that ensures transparency. Organizations can also hold debates regarding business and ethical issues. It is important to form or strengthen committees which deal with resource allocation such as management committee, market operations management committee, budget committee, operations committee etc. Also, it is important to establish guiding principles. Not only that, the company must also go the extra mile of making sure such guidelines are followed. Incorporating these in the KPI may spur employees to follow them. Also, cross functional teams must be formed so that every department can get access to the decision making process.

WRITTEN BY: LightCastle Analytics Wing

At LightCastle, we take a systemic and data-driven approach to create opportunities for growth and impact. We are an international management consulting firm which creates systemic and data-driven opportunities for growth and impact in emerging markets. By collaborating with development partners and leveraging the power of the private sector, we strive to boost economies, inspire businesses, and change lives at scale.

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