Press Release


STAMFORD, Conn., November 8, 2021

Gartner HR Research Reveals 82% of Employees Report Working Environment Lacks Fairness

Gartner Experts Share Best Practices to Create A More Fair Employee Experience at the Virtual Gartner ReimagineHR Americas Conference 2021

Just 18% of employees said they work in a high fairness environment and have an employee experience that is characterized as fair, according to Gartner, Inc. HR leaders feel largely the same – only 22% would characterize their workplace as having a high degree of fairness.

Gartner defines a high fairness environment as one where employees perceive that their manager and organization treat them fairly. The Gartner 2021 ReimagineHR Employee Survey of 3,500 employees conducted in 3Q21 found that employees who work in a high fairness environment perform at a level that is 26% higher than those who don’t and are 27% less likely to quit.

Key issues facing HR leaders, including creating a fairer employee experience, are at the focus of the Gartner ReimagineHR conference, taking place virtually in the Americas today through Wednesday.

“Creating a fairer employee experience will be the most important initiative for HR executives in 2022,” said Brian Kropp, chief of research in the Gartner HR practice. “To do this, organizations need to go beyond policies and develop philosophies.”

Four Factors That Help Employees Feel Fairness 

During the opening keynote today, Kropp said there are four areas that employers can develop strategies around to increase employee perceptions of fairness at work:

Being Informed

The Gartner 3Q21 survey showed that only 33% of organizations practice true information transparency, even though nearly 70% of employees said that they would take one job offer over another based on the organizations’ transparency practices. Gartner’s research revealed that companies disseminate information unevenly across their workforce across talent processes, including recruiting and compensation.

Feeling supported

When employees feel supported at work, they are more likely to indicate that they work in a high fairness environment. Organizations have tried to support employees by investing in well-being programs. In fact, a Gartner survey of 53 HR leaders between September and November 2020 found that 64% of respondents added or expanded well-being programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these investments, most employees still don’t feel like they’re getting the support they need and deserve.

Feeling considered

The Gartner 3Q21 survey revealed that only 18% of qualified employees are considered for the next opportunity when it emerges at their organization. Most organizations have created referral programs that give access to opportunities for qualified external candidates based on a current employee’s referral, but they have not done this for internal candidates. Instead, organizations typically rely on managers, who are asked to consider more qualified candidates, or employees, who are encouraged to take initiative to raise their profile and build their own brand.

Receiving acknowledgement

Accurate employee evaluation and recognition boosts employee perceptions of fairness, however the Gartner 3Q21 survey found only 24% of employees feel acknowledged for their contributions. Managers are typically called on to create this feeling of acknowledgement, but Gartner research reveals that in a hybrid environment, managers tend to favor on-site employees over remote employees. According to a Gartner November 2020 survey of nearly 3,000 managers, 64% said that on-site employees are higher performers, while 75% say that on-site employees are more likely to be promoted.

The Way Forward

Progressive organizations are increasing their employees’ feelings of fairness by addressing the four factors above in the following ways:

  • Dramatically increase the amount of information given to all employees and candidates, and ensure the information employees receive is actionable by providing them guidance on how to use the information.
  • Expand support programs to all employees. Frame this support as an effort to create a more successful organization with a better work environment and employee experience for everyone; help employees understand why different people are getting different support.
  • Use peer networks to provide more equitable access to opportunities between those outside the organization and those inside the organization.
  • Leverage technology to acknowledge the employees making the most important contributions. This includes ensuring employees are comfortable and consulted with the privacy implications of these technologies and, helping employees understand what behavior changes will result in changes to their performance.

“Organizations that employ strategies to address these four factors can create a significant shift in the number of employees who feel like they have a fair experience at work – from fewer than in 1 in 5 employees to more than 4 in 5 employees,” said Kropp.

About the Gartner ReimagineHR Conference

Gartner experts are discussing key workplace issues during the virtual Gartner ReimagineHR Conference, taking place virtually in the Americas November 8-10. This conference brings together a community of trailblazers, thought leaders and industry experts pushing the bounds of human resources. CHROs and HR leaders are learning from the latest research and Gartner experts covering talent acquisition, diversity, equity and inclusion, learning and development, total rewards, talent analytics, and HR technology. Follow news and updates from the conference on Twitter and LinkedIn using #GartnerHR.

About the Gartner HR Practice

The Gartner HR practice brings together the best relevant content approaches across Gartner to offer individual decision makers strategic business advice on the mission-critical priorities that cut across the HR function. Additional information is available at Follow news and updates from the Gartner HR practice on Twitter and LinkedIn using #GartnerHR.


About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) delivers actionable, objective insight to executives and their teams. Our expert guidance and tools enable faster, smarter decisions and stronger performance on an organization’s mission critical priorities. To learn more, visit