Fairness in the workplace and why does it matter to wellbeing? What is the connection?


By Geeta Thakerar, co-convenor of Singapore Corporate Counsel Association’s Wellbeing Chapter.

2024, “Wellbeing Wednesdays” series and continuing the conversations……………………..


Why does this matter?

Research has shown that fairness practices do have a profound impact on both employee well-being and business success. The presence or absence does translate to business performance.

It is a key driver for engagement, loyalty and going that extra step for the employer or line manager/team. It is a key to unlock productivity, growth, and innovation.

Clear and transparent communications, about career progression within the team/department practice group, pay and what the firm/company line manager is doing to help the individual in the success journey. Communications about offering financial education and well-being tools and training legal line managers to talk about total rewards, all play a positive rill on wellbeing.

Accountability should not reside with purely the HR function, but all legal line managers regardless of positions in-house or in private practice, need to get on top of this and manage their teams.

To note: often the absence of information can lead to false assumptions about decision-making that can potentially affects individuals. This may lead to stress and unnecessary anxiety. This could affect not only the concerned individual, but others within the team as well as those around them. Work product ultimately could be significantly impacted.

There needs to be a clear recognition of the importance in investing in your team. This includes inter alia investing in, and delivering, meaningful mentorships. It is important to identify clear criteria for senior roles. This need to be made explicit and be available to all employees. Additionally, make sure there is fair compensation for work; just and impartial treatment when considered for promotions; and ensure to give equal opportunities for growth.

The International Bar Association 2019 report based on a 2018 survey, made ten recommendations. These largely focus on the prevalence of bullying in the legal workplace. The recommendations were made so as to assist legal workplaces and the profession. These include: raising awareness; implementing revised policies/standards; introduction of customised trainings; increase dialogue and best practice sharing; taking ownership; getting more data and improving transparency; improve reporting models including flexibility; engage younger members of the profession listen to what they have to say; appreciate the wider context dysfunctional work places/departments have negative impact on wellbeing/mental health; and maintain momentum and implement/execute strategies for sustainability of the profession.

To combat the rising tide of burnout in the profession, legal leaders should focus on building resilience; pushing for mindfulness practices; and ensuring improvements around psychological safety.

Poor delegation, overwork, lack of autonomy and support from a community, typically are organisational issues, for line managers to address.

Research indicates often a manager has more impact on mental health, than a doctor or therapist.

Research also shows that the impact on the mental health of workers, and burnout can have a serious negative impact on retention and harmony within a department or a team.

As regards psychological safety the profession has a way to go still. For young lawyers to feel comfortable to speak up, be permitted, within reason, to take risks and make mistakes without fear of negative consequences, remains an ongoing journey. Research shows that psychologically safety in a workplace may help better overall health, reducing levels of stress and anxiety and improving overall wellbeing.

If this subject of fairness in the workplace and why does it matter to wellbeing is of interest or you want to learn more and want to be part of the conversation, please join SCCA Wellbeing 2024 Wednesdays’ series.

The next one is a dinner for a small group of 12-14 maximum on Wednesday 21st February 2024.


This will be on a first come first served basis.  


Click here to register! 

Sign up and see you soon!