- May 19, 2021
- By Joshua Reid
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- career , customer service , employee , engagement , faith , professional , professionalism , religion , religious , spirituality
How Does Faith Affect Employee Engagement?
As businesses, whether in-person or through other video messaging software continue to meet with clients and potential business partners, CEOs and managers ought to be taking stock of their employees. Who’s performing to the standard of the company? Who might need a little encouragement? Additionally, the corporate world is increasingly recognizing the impact of an employee’s personal life on their engagement with their career. CEOs and managers ought to be educated on how such personal matters can affect their employees. This article will discuss, specifically, the concept of faith and how it can affect employee engagement. .
How do such factors like faith affect employee engagement?
Employees are the first people that potential clients meet and engage with when they are either seeking to work with a business or see what a company offers. Because of this, employees have to be professional; making sure that the potential clients feel welcomed and are able to see the benefits that working with a specific company provides them.
However, this could cause some employees who are religious to, perhaps unconsciously, display facets of their faith, like a simple greeting when conversing with the clients. While this could push clients away, an employee’s faith could actually be a pro for the company if handled appropriately. A business doesn’t want to appear like it’s adhering to one particular faith tradition, nor do they want to appear against any belief system. As an example of what not to do, in 2016, Cargill Meat Solutions fired its Muslim workers because they protested the company’s changing times for them to pray.
A 2013 article by Management Issues titled “Faith-friendly workplaces benefit employees” states that employees that work in environments that support their faith develop better relationships with their colleagues and engage with their work. For example, workplaces could show support for an employee’s faith by having prayer rooms for Muslims. Brian Amble, the writer of the article points out that there is a distinction between a company being “faith-friendly” where they welcome all faith traditions and a company being “faith-based.”
“Once considered a corporate taboo because of its association with religious proselytizing and indoctrination, spirituality is becoming more acceptable in the workplace, said Patrick Hyland of Sirota Survey Intelligence, one of the researchers.” (Amble)
When it comes to businesses addressing faith, it seems that the two best directions for a company to take without it affecting employee engagement are Faith-Tolerant and Faith-Friendly. “Faith-Tolerant,” as the name suggests, is a direction many companies today probably desire, where a business doesn’t embrace the faith traditions of its employees but still provides accommodations for those employees through the HR department. Jeff Haanen, the writer of the Denver Institute article and a supporter of the “faith-tolerant” approach, argues that employees don’t want to split themselves between person and work, but rather bring every part of them into their work.
“Faith-Friendly,” on the other hand, is a structure that allows everyone’s beliefs to be welcomed. The business neither has to avoid the subject or espouse a specific religion. Additionally, unlike the “Faith-Avoiding” approach, employees don’t have to fear being fired because of their religious beliefs; which could be seen as illegal or immoral. Although both approaches have their strengths and benefits, returning to the Management Issues article, Brian Amble does point out that in 2013, more than half of Americans were working with employees who were from different cultural and religious backgrounds and that the risk of tensions flaring increased.
An employees’ faith does play a part in who they are; however, if that becomes a problem to the point that clients are either complaining or it is affecting an employee’s ability to engage with the clients, then it should be addressed, appropriately and respectfully.
“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.” (Amble)
Amble, Brian. “Faith-friendly workplaces benefit employees.” Management Issues, https://www.management-issues.com/news/6816/faith-friendly-workplaces-benefit-employees/. Accessed 27 April 2021.
Haanen, Jeff. “Faith in the Workplace: The Four Postures.” Denver Institute for Faith and Work, https://denverinstitute.org/the-four-postures-toward-faith-in-the-workplace/. Accessed 26 April 2021.