What makes a happier worker? Defining "Fair Process"

By William Seidman A recent article by Matt Sedensky in The Washington Post caught my eye. The article reported on a study by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research that found that 9 out of 10 workers age 50 or older say they are “very or somewhat satisfied with their jobs.” These workers reported satisfaction regardless of race, gender, income level, educational level, and political ideology. “Though research has shown that people across age groups are more likely to report job satisfaction than dissatisfaction,” Sedensky writes, “older workers consistently have expressed more happiness with their work than younger people have.” Colleagues Applauding Senior BusinessmanGiven that older workers have usually already climbed the career ladder, reached positions with greater security, and increased their salaries along the way, more job satisfaction makes sense, said Tom Smith, director of the General Social Survey. But what captured my attention in the article was this bit of insight: “Six in 10 said colleagues turned to them for advice more often and more than 4 in 10 said they felt they were receiving more respect at work.” How do you feel when people are truly listening and receptive to what you have to say? How do you feel when people are treating you with respect? I believe that these two factors alone are far more powerful in determining job satisfaction and happiness than salary and title. As we show in our forthcoming book, “The Star Factor,” when organizational change is presented in ways that increase listeners’ dignity and self-respect, people listen more and adopt the change more quickly. This is the new science of Fair Process. Fair Process gathers input and makes decision-making visible. Fair Process stresses participation and lots of communication. However, inclusion and transparency are not what makes Fair Process so powerful. Fair process is not a technique, but a way of being or a cultural value. When a company’s leadership truly believes in fair process, receptivity to new ideas and change initiatives increases exponentially. Fair Process is an organization’s attitude of respect toward all participants, and it enhances their sense of personal dignity, honor and job satisfaction.]]>

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