Applying Policies Equitably: Six Tips For Happier Employees

Why it’s important: Your ministry’s harmonious balance can be tipped if employees perceive that some are favored over others.

Inequitable treatment of employees has many unintended consequences including low morale, loss of productivity, hurtful rumors, and higher-than-usual staff turnover. For employees, a sense of unfairness can lead to anger, frustration, depression, or feeling shunned.

These best practices should apply to similarly situated staff, leaders, and administrators, where possible. By incorporating the following steps, your ministry helps ensure HR policies are enforced equitably:

  1. Provide each employee with a handbook that includes uniform information. 
  2. Only include policies in your handbook that you intend to follow. Then, implement and follow those policies.
  3. To help create transparency, include your ministry’s mission, expectations for code of conduct, benefits eligibility, paid time off, and leave policies in your handbook.
  4. Publicly recognize or reward employees for meaningful contributions. Explain how the employee or team went above expectations on a project. 
  5. Consider posting job openings, including qualifications, in a way that all employees can view them.
  6. Keep employees engaged and solicit feedback. Create an open-door policy among supervisors that lets employees know their voice matters. 


Why it’s a legal issue: Inconsistent treatment is not just an employee morale issue—in some limited situations, violating your own handbook policies can land you in legal hot water.

That’s why it’s crucial to have written policies and procedures, and the training to apply handbook rules equitably. A locally licensed attorney can help you understand the employment protection laws that apply to your ministry. Federal and state laws are vast and may apply differently to ministries based on a religious exemption or the number of people the organization employs.