One of the biggest problems in organizations is the notion of what constitutes fair treatment of people. Too many managers--and HR departments--think that treating people fairly requires that we treat people precisely the same way, equally.
Well, we aren't all the same people. We don't want the same things. What you want and what I want from a job are different. You might want time off to go to your children's plays. Maybe I want to take three weeks of vacation a year. You want a book allowance. I want to go to a conference. You want to be part of a team on a well-defined project. I want to be like Captain Kirk, going where no one has gone before.
We both want to work on projects, but the kind of project is different. We both want to work on teams, and the teams are different. Why would the company want to treat us the same way?
And yet, this equal treatment is something many companies strive for.
It's craziness. That's because no one has considered what we really need: fair treatment, not equal treatment.
When you start treating people fairly, instead of equally, you
- Help people discover which work challenges them.
- Help them learn about and achieve their career goals.
- Help people provide you feedback about what they want, not what you want
And, you start creating win-win situations at work.
So stop with the equal, and go with the fair treatment, ok?