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Fair play to the birds

Eurest | Great food |  13 April 2017

A Crow on a fence.

Turns out birds are smarter than we thought — and they’ve got a few things to teach us about fairness… and food.

Why people like to play fair

Humans have a hardwired sense of fairness and equality. We help people because they’ve helped us in the past, or we’re hoping they will help us in the future. It’s something called altruism, and most people have it from childhood.

Even from a very young age, our expectation of equality drives how our relationships function — and therefore how we perform as a society. Give any child an ice cream but ignore their siblings, and you’ll hear the cries of “that’s not fair!” almost immediately.

Cooperation and fairness work because we have a mental balance sheet that keeps track of who has what. Which is why we find it easier to share with people who are generous towards us.

As the crow flies (or fails)

Turns out, the same goes for the animal kingdom. Researchers have known for a long time that monkeys, dogs and rats have a sense of fairness. But a new study has revealed that even birds prefer to play fair.

Using an ‘inequality aversion task’, researchers rewarded one crow for achievement, but not the other. Eventually, the bird that worked hard but received no reward for its behaviour gave up. Meanwhile, the bird that saw its effort was valued, kept going.

The pecking order

In terms of the rewards your people want for all their effort, easy access to the food and drink they fancy is right up there in the pecking order.

No one wants to feel envious of what’s on offer elsewhere — so it’s important to make sure that your people don’t think they’re hard done by. A good way to keep morale high and your people happy is to play fair — and give them access to a fantastic food selection.

And providing great food in the workplace is easy with a Eurest restaurant. So play fair, and don’t let your people get peckish. Visit our website to find out more about how we can help you give your people great food.

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