Religion, Spirituality & Employee Engagement
There have been a few recent articles on the role of religion and spirituality at the workplace. A new study found that work environments that support employees’ right to be open about their religious beliefs led to workers feeling safer, having a better relationship with their colleagues, and being more engaged in their work.
Patrick Hyland, of Sirota Survey Intelligence and one of the study’s authors, said it is important to note the differences between having a spirituality-accepting workplace and religious proselytizing. He says spirituality at work is not about getting employees to buy into a specific set of religious beliefs. “It’s about helping employees tap into their personal core values and work towards goals that are both personally and professionally meaningful,” Hyland said. “It’s about enabling employees to connect their inner lives and personal passions with their day-to-day work.”
The study, based on more than 11,800 responses to an annual survey conducted for a multi-national company also found that employees in faith-friendly environments felt safer and more fairly treated.
“Senior leaders can remind employees about the bigger mission their organizations are trying to achieve,” Hyland advised. “Immediate managers can help employees find more meaning in their day-to-day jobs, their struggles and their successes.” He adds that building a space in the workplace where people can practice spirituality, like meditation rooms, can go a long way.
“At the end of the day, it’s about creating an environment where employees feel they can bring their full selves to work and have a professional life that is aligned with their deepest inner convictions,”
The goal of a faith-friendly company is simply to recognize the importance of faith for many employees and respect their desire to integrate it into their lives. It’s not about promoting religion. There are a number of articles on this research on management issues.
In a different article, spirituality and Employee Engagement is touched upon. This article states work-life balance is not the most-important factor for people feeling engaged on the job. Yes employees appreciate leaders who care about their lives beyond work. But work-life balance doesn’t ensure people are happy at work. The work itself must be fulfilling.
In some parts of the world, fulfilling work is defined as having a spiritually enlightening experience. Shriram Darbha, Head of HR for BSE Limited (Bombay Stock Exchange), spoke at the 2013 World HR Congress in Mumbai, India on spirituality in the workplace. He equated employee engagement with spirituality and said it is too bad the west feels there is no connection with spirituality and work. He said a spiritual workforce is the most engaged and productive of all.
In the UK there is a growing focus amongst organisations on diversity in the workplace, if religion, spirituality and employee engagement is weaved into this effort this could replicate some of the above research for UK organisations.
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