Religion is becoming more acceptable at work. And that's a good thing for both workers and employers, new research suggests.
A study revealed that employees working in environments that support their right to be open about their religious beliefs feel safer, have better working relationships with colleagues, and are more likely to be 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, presented at the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology's annual conference earlier this year, was based on more than 11,800 responses to an annual survey conducted for a multinational company. It found that employees were more engaged in their work, felt safer and were treated more fairly when they felt their organization was taking steps to accommodate faith in the workplace.
Hyland said there are small actions that business leaders can do to signal employees that the organization is spiritually friendly, without pushing religion.
"Senior leaders can remind employees about the bigger mission their organizations are trying to achieve," Hyland said. "Immediate managers can help employees find more meaning in their day-to-day jobs, their struggles, and their successes."
Additionally, Hyland said human resource departments can create the space for spirituality at work by setting up affinity groups and meditation rooms.
"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," he said.
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