August - Faith & religion month
How does it feel to live in a multi-faith society?
Living in a multi-faith or a multi-cultural society provides the opportunity to see how lots of different faiths live side-by-side and meeting people with different religions and traditions can be a wonderful experience, but it can also have its challenges. Problems can arise when there is a lack of understanding, so it is important for people from different faiths to come together and engage in discussion in order to better understand one another.
Since the 20th century the UK has been a home for people from many different parts of the world, who bring with them different cultures and religions, a country where you can see communities from all 6 major religions: Christianity, Buddhism, Islamism, Hinduism, Judaism, Sikhism and much more. Throughout the UK, especially in large cities, you will see many religious buildings such as mosques, temples and gurdwaras alongside Christian churches and chapels, in which people practise a variety of different faiths.
Religion at work
How to handle religion in the workplace can be a contentious issue that many business leaders struggle with.
Even today, as Jeff Haanen mentioned in his post regarding faith in the workplace, businesses and corporations take four positions considering the role of faith in the workplace and new recruits:
This is self-explanatory as some companies and institutions are deliberately avoiding people from one or more religions, avoiding religious expressions of employees being actively pushed to the margins or seen as irrelevant to the business. For this reason, religious employees can fear being fired for expressing their beliefs, hiding their religious believes because of a perceived bias against them or the concern that they will be passed over for a promotion because of religious belief.
In this scenario, religion is tolerated yet not embraced by a business or corporation. Instead of avoiding the topic, employee’s personal beliefs inform their work and job responsibilities. Faith-tolerant companies will often accommodate employees through the HR department. This is a first step in embracing all religions but still has a way to go as these businesses still limit religious observance and practice in the company or organisation, without acknowledging or initiating conversations around faith in the workplace.
As Jeff Haanen said, this might be perhaps the most cited among Christian networks of business (in the USA). In this situation business owner’s faith is woven into the day-to-day operations of the company. The CEO is overt about their own faith and will intentionally or unintentionally implement their beliefs on the company’s corporate culture.
This should be the final goal of a D&I leader, in a company that strives to invoke happiness and comfort for their employees. In a faith-friendly business, everybody’s beliefs are welcomed within the organisation. The organisation neither avoids topics of faith or merely tolerates religious expression, instead, it actively welcomes conversations about beliefs, backgrounds, and religious faith that employees hold dear and that shapes their motivations. This perspective is based on essential commitments to pluralism and freedom of religious expression.
How would you classify your company: faith-avoiding, faith-tolerant, faith-based or faith-friendly? What do you think you’d like to change, and how will you get there? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, we are here to guide you. If you are a company that needs help to become a more faith-friendly environment or a job seeker searching for the company that will embrace your diversity and believes Vercida can help.