How to understand and celebrate faith in the workplace

As we approach the removal of Covid restrictions we anticipate this will bring another change in working patterns. Many people may be moving away from a working from home pattern which has enabled them to practice their faith more comfortably. What can you do to make sure you understand this transition so employees are confident to bring all aspects of themselves, including their faith, to work?

This blog highlights the importance of faith for some employees, why it is important to understand their beliefs and how to improve faith inclusion in your workplace.

How does faith help during difficult times?

During difficult times, many people turn to faith as an anchor. The last few years have been unlike anything we could have imagined.

With global lockdowns, working from home, a virus that wouldn’t go away, conflict, hatred, and war, it’s easy to see why so many people find solace in their faith.

Places of worship were forced to close as a result of these events, which seemed to be a symbolic reflection of the silence we experienced and the darkness people felt, or are still feeling.

Many people require light at this time. It is not surprising that many people have turned to faith for comfort during these trying times.

For some, it may be a new journey, while for others, it may be a return to a previous one. Because faith is such an important part of so many people’s lives in the workplace, we must not only understand it but embrace it.

Understand your colleague’s faith to enable inclusion

Faith and belief is a personal matter for many individuals. We may know of or have seen members of staff observing their faith in the workplace, but do we really know much about their beliefs?

Other than our assumptions or from hearing their needs around adjustments, do we truly understand the concepts that underpin one of the cornerstones of our colleague’s life?

To engage with our inclusion and diversity strategies and create inclusion, we need to understand the communities within our organisation.

How can understanding people’s faith be helpful?

Cultural competency and interfaith initiatives are vital in creating empowerment for employees, as faith and belief intersect with many of the protected characteristics.

Your understanding of faith is critical to the success of some of your employees.

If employees feel confident to bring that part of themselves to work – that they can confidently undertake the practices that are important to their faith and share as much as they wish about it, without fear of discrimination – you will be enabling them to bring their whole self to work and you will likely get the best from them in return.

There are many benefits of religious diversity in the workplace, for both individuals and the organisation. When employees can thrive, organisations can thrive.

Faith in changing work environments

Over the last couple of years, many have re-kindled their faith as they have been working from home, or have found faith to be an anchor.

As the workplace changes again, whether you are moving into hybrid patterns, returning to the office or continuing to work from home, employers need to think more about inclusion through the lens of faith.

How to celebrate faith within the workplace

Employees perform better where they can be themselves. Think about how your workplace can celebrate and empower faith, not just tolerate or accept it.

You can start to do this by:

  • Actively having conversations with your staff to understand what they need and create actions that will make them happen.
  • Link in with your interfaith networks
  • Review your Equality Impact Assessments
  • Think about how the transition from being devout whilst working from home is translated into the workplace.
  • Update your documentation, language and spaces to be more inclusive of those from various religious backgrounds

Developing new ways to celebrate the diversity of faiths in your organisation will help to shape your inclusive culture. If you want to understand your employers and reflect your diversity – you need to know your employees.

Not just their reasonable adjustments, but their values and morals too. This will enable you to build a more impactful and inclusive team.

How Inclusive Employers can help you focus on faith

We can support you to strengthen your understanding and action on faith inclusion with our religion and belief training.

We also have a range of resources on this topic which Members can access for free. Non-members, please get in touch here if you would like to learn more on how we can help you.