What's your Problem?

I don't think my employer is fair...

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Q: This might sound a bit flaky, but I don't think the company I work for is very fair. It's an intangible thing that I've chatted with my friends at work about, and it's something we all agree on. It's little things like big pay rises for management and minute ones for the rest of us. In fact, generally, how we are treated. I like my job, but this isn't something I can ignore. Am I being too demanding?

A: I know exactly what you mean, though it's probably a bit more complicated than fairness. Some companies have a meanness of spirit that subtly pervades everything they do; you sense it rather than measure it. Other companies, in contrast, exude a sense of generosity; and again, it's largely intangible.

When practised properly, of course, generosity doesn't even carry a net cost. An atmosphere of generosity, particularly generosity of time, makes worker bees a great deal more contented, much less likely to leave, far readier to help out others and do a bit more. This isn't an easy lesson for the middle ranks to convey to distant management, but it's worth trying.

Company cultures develop through example rather than instruction: so if you and your friends can both display and respond to small acts of generosity yourselves, there's a chance it could become infectious.

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