- May 21, 2021
- By Joshua Reid
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- career , discrimination , faith , hospitality , professional , professionalism , religion , religious , spirituality
How Do Faith and Religion Affect Hospitality in the Workforce?
Merriam-Webster defines “hospitality” as “the activity or business of providing services to guests in hotels, restaurants, bars, etc.” So, taking this into the context of the work environment, hospitality in the workforce focuses largely on providing necessities to their guests.
But how does faith and religion play into the hospitality of the workforce?
For businesses that have taken on a “faith-friendly” or “faith-tolerant” approach to handling such topics, faith and religion could reveal a lot about the company. For instance, one of Tyson Foods’ core values is being “faith friendly and inclusive.” Such a policy does not exclude “secular humanists or atheists,” but rather allows for the full spectrum of an individual’s ultimate motivation.
One way that I could see faith and religion affecting the hospitality of the workforce in a positive light would be if a potential client were in need of whatever the business was providing, yet the client didn’t have a place to stay. The employee could show the client services like hotels, restaurants, bars, etc… that are within the area of the business so they could be nearby.
In a 2017 article, Jessica Kurtzman writes that the hospitality industry is customer service driven, and that not only are the employees the “sole brand ambassadors,” but that one slip up could lead to either a happy customer or an irate one.
“Customer-facing employees are in a position to bring personality to the company, and those who do it will help separate businesses from the competition.” (Kurtzman)
Bringing personality to the company is something employees should do, and spirituality is a part of that. However, expressing faith and religion, especially in the workforce, is a balancing act.
How does an employee balance such a line? How do they keep the two in check?
Kurtzman notes that if the employer is committed to bringing out the full potential of their staff, the staff likewise will be committed to the “terms” of the company and helping it to succeed. For employees who practice their faith and religion, and employers within the hospitality industry, there are several questions that I feel they should be asking or at the very least looking for when it comes to being the “ambassadors” for the business:
- Does the employees’ faith and religion push potential clients away from working with or becoming a part of the business? (note: take special care with this question not to discriminate against employees on religious grounds. Religious discrimination is illegal and immoral)
- How does the employees’ faith affect the hospitality industry?
- What could businesses do to ensure that all clients are served in the most effective manner?
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 28 April 2021.
Kurtzman, Jessica. “Why is employee engagement in the hospitality industry important?” Rewardian, https://blog.rewardian.com/why-is-employee-engagement-in-the-hospitality-industry-important. Accessed 28 April 2021.