Treating employees equally and fairly can be challenging. Because team members have different needs, motivations, personalities, and work preferences, treating them all the same way isn’t ideal. Since your teammates prefer different leadership styles, have different risk tolerance, and enjoy different tasks, if you treat your employees all same, they won’t all give you the results you desire. As a result, you need to treat team members individually, rather than equally, in order to be fair.

Here are four ways to treat your employees equally and fairly.

1. Treat Employees Individually

Rather than treating all of your employees the same, treat them according to their circumstances and contributions. For instance, let your employees know exactly what is expected of them. Explain the kind of performance or results you feel are excellent. Share the kinds of rewards your employees can expect when exhibiting this type of performance. Ensure each team member has a fair chance to reach these goals. Also, understand your employees and the circumstances they’re working under. If one is experiencing a challenging time, their performance likely will be lower than usual. Allow for reasonable flexibility with the employee’s performance.

2. Emphasize Equal Opportunity for Recognition

Let your employees know that they have equal opportunity to be recognized for their contributions and achievements. Knowing that everyone has a chance to be praised for their hard work increases a sense of fairness. When employees see teammates being recognized, they feel more inclined to put in their best effort and receive praise as well.

3. Handle Promotions Fairly

Provide your employees with frequent constructive feedback, personal support, and opportunities for professional development. Allow them to give you feedback in return so they feel heard. Regularly meet with employees to discuss their objectives and any issues that arise. Help them develop goals with action steps to achieve them. When it comes time for promotions, if an employee wants to know why a team member was chosen over them, you have examples of how the team member implemented feedback, support, and professional development to earn the promotion.

4. Provide a Fair Appeals Process

Offer a fair opportunity for employees to share grievances with management. For instance, have an open-door policy for all leaders that includes methods for sharing employee feedback with management. Create an Employee Advocate program where team members can share concerns or constructive criticism with a leader outside their typical communication channel. The leader can discuss the information with executives, then set up a meeting with the team member to help resolve the issue.

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