How Do Faith and Religion Interact with a Professional Career?

Although race and gender have been getting increased attention in the workplace, due in part to COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter protests last year, faith and religion have not been getting the same amount of attention. While such a topic would usually cause people to close their ears and steer clear of the conversation, it is also a topic that can have big impacts, and therefore should be addressed. 

How do faith and religion interact with a professional career?

In an article by Covisioning titled “Spirituality and Employee Engagement: It’s not about religion,” the writer notes that there are two types of leadership within the company: Transformational and Transactional. Transformational leadership fosters an employee’s growth and development, ultimately allowing the employee to gain a better sense of their relationship with their co-workers. Transactional leadership, on the other hand, focuses on achieving the goals of the company while leaving the employees out of the loop. 

While the article focuses on the two types of leadership, it’s important to note that neither is inherently good or bad. One leadership type focuses more on the transformation of the company through allowing an employee’s spiritual growth and development while the other focuses just on the company, leaving aside the employees. For those employees that are religious or practice a specific faith, I would assume you’d want to work for a company that, although not specifically focusing on religion, allowed you to practice said faith.

Jeff Haanen, in his article titled “Faith in the Workplace: The Four Postures,” describes several postures that a business could take when approaching the topic of faith in the workplace:

  • Faith-Avoiding
  • Faith-Tolerant
  • Faith-Based
  • Faith-Friendly

It’s important to note that a company could adopt any one of the four postures mentioned above. Take, for instance, the “Faith-Avoiding” posture. Most businesses, if one were to look at their “codes of conduct,” wouldn’t have anything referencing faith or religion, unless referring to their policies against religious discrimination.. The article gives examples, such as Muslims praying five times a day or Jewish dietary restrictions in the office kitchen.

“Faith in these contexts is seen as inappropriate for the workplace and best left for the home or a weekend church service. In the “faith avoiding” posture, religious expressions of employees are actively pushed to the margins or seen as irrelevant to the business.” (Haanen)

 The “faith-avoiding” posture is dependent on the type of company. The fear of religious expression in employees could actually be a detriment to a company that refuses to enlist the opportunities that come with those who are religious. Haanen notes that avoiding the core motivations of people who are religious prevents the company from utilizing the opportunities a business could have to harness the employees’ “deepest desires and beliefs.” Even if the company leans more towards the “faith-avoiding” posture, the business could eventually see that their employees’ faith traditions could be a benefit to the company if utilized in the correct manner.


“Spirituality and Employee Engagement: It’s not about religion.” Covisioning, 26 Apr 2021,

Haanen, Jeff. “Faith in the Workplace: The Four Postures.” Denver Institute for Faith and Work, Accessed 25 April 2021.


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