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What do I think? I think it's all completely relative and subjective. Your opinion on the subject is as valid as mine. Fair = "marked by impartiality and honesty: free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism," per the dictionary. OK. Now, who can be "fair" in their own opinion about themself? Such a personally-ascribed introspective judgment is inherently flawed and essentially subjective.

Furthermore, I suspect a great deal of the fuss on the topic stems from the overwhelmingly prevalent entitlement attitudes that encroach upon total rewards scenarios. "Fair" implies some clear standard of reference that would establish the proper level of whatever it is you are weighing. So what is proper, appropriate and "fair"? Is it objective or subjective? Who sets the standards? If the enterprise says $x and Y treatment is fair in their lights, who can claim otherwise? All critics would have to be completely disinterested outside parties before their opinions on "fairness" would be more persuasive than the employer's, in my opinion. QED: any employee griping may have reason to gripe, but they have no right to declare that the organization's standards are not fair, because it's the company's money and they decide how to spend it.

As I've said before, "fair" tends to be used as a synonym for "more".

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About The Author

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    Compensation consultant Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. Ann has more than 20 years of experience consulting with organizations in the areas of compensation and performance management.

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