In order for employees to accept management decisions, particularly when the outcomes of those decisions are negative, they must perceive organizational decision-making processes as fair. Here are seven steps that will dramatically increase the likelihood that your organization's decision-making processes are perceived as fair.

  1. To the extent possible, allow employees and relevant stakeholders (i.e., those who will be affected by the decisions) meaningful opportunities to provide input into the decision-making process.

  2. State the decision criteria clearly in advance of the decision.

  3. a. Use objective standards whenever possible.

    b. Ensure the criteria are logical, relevant, and used consistently.

    c. Explain why these criteria were chosen.

  4. Communicate the criteria to all employees and stakeholders.

  5. Make the process as transparent as possible. Continue to communicate throughout the process, not just when identifying the criteria and rules.

  6. Follow the stated criteria consistently. If there must be an exception, justify it clearly and forthrightly.

  7. Ensure that the results are consistent with the stated criteria.

  8. Provide appeal procedures for decisions wherever possible.

Pat Lynch, Ph.D., is President of Business Alignment Strategies, Inc., a consulting firm that helps clients optimize business results by aligning people, programs, and processes with organizational goals. You may contact Pat or call (562) 985-0333.


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