Religious affiliations in the workforce are set to rise significantly over the next 25 years say researchers at the Religious Freedom and Business Foundation. “Companies need to be religiously literate if they hope to recruit and retain top talent,” they say. We already knew that. An inclusive approach is the only approach if you want to be successful in business.
Living in a multicultural society is an enriching and positive life experience, but it brings managers challenges. When integrating different faiths into a team your keywords should be education and inclusion.Religious beliefs can be a core part of a person’s identity. Recognise that and build relationships. Make sure that you have a good understanding of where cultures meet. Then you can build a safer more inclusive environment where people perform at their best.
Tips for multi-faith workplaces
- Learn a little about the core beliefs of a range of religions, and any associated needs. These could be prayer rituals, holy days, dress codes and food and drink requirements. Remember there are many faiths that you may not have encountered. And they might not be outwardly visible, such as Paganism, Humanism, Rastafarianism, and Buddhism. When you do make provision for your employee’s needs, make sure you talk about it during recruitment. It can make you an attractive option among jobseekers.
- Don’t make assumptions: Talk to your staff members as individuals. Faith is a personal thing and they may not need or want any special considerations. Or they may feel uncomfortable talking about them in a public forum. Network Rail provides accessible ‘multi-faith facilities’ in their offices to help all their staff members feel included without impacting office
- Add a wide range of religious holidays and festivals to your workplace calendar. This promotes knowledge and acceptance as well as removing barriers and opening conversations. Some NHS trusts already successfully do this. Also, be flexible.
- The British Council lets employees who don’t want to celebrate a UK bank holiday faith festival to trade for leave at a different date.
- Be inclusive at work events: Kosher, Halal and vegetarian options for refreshments are readily available in high street shops. Make sure you have non-alcoholic drinks and label food options. This lets people make choices appropriate to them.
- Be conscious of prejudice in both its positive and negative forms. It’s about not compromising anyone’s needs. As such, it needs to be well-considered to reflect your own workforce.
Promoting inclusive, accessible and effective work environments is key to VERCIDA’s core ethos. And we’re proud to help other businesses promote religious inclusivity when building a workforce. We can help find the right staff for your teams. Diversify your workforce here.