What is spirituality in business? There’s a wide range of important perspectives. Some people say that it’s simply embodying their personal values of honesty, integrity, and good quality work. Others say it’s treating their co-workers and employees in a responsible, caring way. For others, it’s participating in spiritual study groups or using prayer, meditation, or intuitive guidance at work. And for some, it’s making their business socially responsible in how it impacts the environment, serves the community or helps create a better world.
Some business people are comfortable using the word “spirituality” in the work environment, as it’s more generic and inclusive than “religion. ” Instead of emphasizing belief as religion does, the word spirituality emphasizes how values are applied and embodied. Other people aren’t comfortable with the word “spiritual” and prefer to talk more about values and ethics when describing the same things that others would call spiritual. But there are some businesspeople who talk about God as their business partner or their CEO. Characteristics of a Spiritual Workplace
Regardless of this ongoing debate, identifying desired characteristics of spiritual workplaces can bring us closer to understanding the role that spirituality can play in organizations, the way it can function to positively impact the bottom line, and the value it might bring to members of the work community. 1. Emphasizes Sustainability A systemic view of work and contribution in the world promotes links between sustainability and an awareness of limited resources. This approach to design, production, and commerce is being increasingly associated with spirituality because it seeks to contribute to the greater good in the world.
It also has the potential to actually increase market value and attract investors. An understanding of sustainable growth and development includes a well-thought-out strategy that identifies potential long-term impacts or implications of actions that could have an eventual negative impact on business. This systemic view of global business means that a company will constantly reassess the long view of risks and rewards associated with doing business in the long run, including a careful ongoing review of potentially negative and unintended consequences of business decisions on individuals, societies, or the environment. . Values Contribution More than providing excellent service for customers, global service indicates a larger sense of responsibility to contribute to the betterment of the world.
While the local family business may not provide products and services that will improve the quality of life in third world countries, American companies historically have fundamentally understood that part of their role is to make the world a better place through the products or services that they sell. Today’s spiritual organization is deliberate in implementing a ision that is built around contributions to the betterment of mankind. It promotes work outside of the organization that contributes to and “gives back” to society through community and volunteer service. Spiritually aware managers and businesses consider themselves servants of employees, customers, and the community. 3. Prizes Creativity Creativity is a necessary part of the business cycle. When technology, markets shifts, and demographic changes force organizations to rethink products and services, creativity is the key to successfully navigating those changes.
The artistic industries have long recognized the spiritual nature of individual and group creative processes, and many educators understand the importance of seamless, daily incorporation of creativity in helping their students learn. The spiritual workplace recognizes that being creative is not necessarily reserved for a special few, but that all people have creative capacities. A spiritual workplace provides resources to help people to uncover their creative potential and to practice creativity within the organization. . Cultivates Inclusion Businesses are increasingly becoming core sources of community for people in societies. The spiritual organization respects and values individuals’ life experiences and the lessons learned from them. Such an organization is intentional in its efforts to include individuals who bring appropriate skill sets to a particular job, but who may have been excluded historically from participating in a professional community of practice due to circumstances they did not choose.
Such historic exclusion from the workplace has included people with physical disabilities, people whose skin color or ethnic origin differs from those of the majority population, and those who have been discriminated against due to gender or sexual orientation. Increasingly, corporations are seeing the value of their employees working together in community toward a commonly held vision. They have a sense that the concepts of love and acceptance within a cultural context of care builds a sense of community that supports the work of the company and that has a direct impact on the bottom line. 5. Develops Principles Organizations have begun to realize the benefits of treating the whole person by actively supporting the formulation of ethical principles that promote personal growth, long-term character development, and personal connections of faith and work development. Assisting employees in integrating personal growth, learning, and faith with job performance benefits the organization. This type of principled emphasis includes providing resources that help employees better understand themselves, develop successful professional and personal relationships, and enhance personal management skills.
Employees are encouraged to develop an accurate and realistic sense of the impact that other people have on them and the impact that they have on others. 6. Promotes Vocation Organizations have long been aware of the benefits of shared ownership of corporate values by every member of the organization. By acknowledging that one’s general search for spiritual growth and fulfillment need not be separate from one’s work, organizations lay the groundwork for spiritual development to assist in engendering understanding among employees.
Companies that understand workplace spirituality go beyond being supportive of learning and development by helping employees develop a sense of “calling” or identification of passion about their lives and their work. Such companies emphasize the discovery and appropriate utilization of individual giftedness and encourage employees to use their unique skills within the organization. Grounded religious faith development is recognized as an important and deeply personal part of growth for many people, one that can help them more easily recognize their vocations.
The six components presented here as building blocks toward considering a model of workplace spirituality serve as a partial framework for engaging in a broader conversation of spirituality’s place and influence in Western business culture. The recent trend in businesses within the United States to reclaim and recognize the spiritual nature of people and the importance of incorporating the “whole person” at work will continue to change the face of how business is done in America for the foreseeable future. BENEFITS OF A SPIRITUAL WORKPLACE According to Wong (2003), when the workplace is spiritual you will see the ollowing changes at the workplace:
- The organization will become purpose-driven and meaning-based.
- Management with a mission will replace management of efficiency and control.
- There will be a shift from fear-based culture to love-based culture.
- Management practices and decisions will be clearly consistent with spiritual values such as integrity, honesty, love, hope, kindness, respect and nurturing. Adding to what Wong (2003) believes, research has shown that employees who are shown organizational kindness are more motivated to accomplishing tasks and are 86% more productive in organizations that show kindness versus those that don’t. Spirituality is about bringing passion – bringing your heart Spirituality is about bringing passion – bringing your heart, soul and spirit – to what you do, because from a spiritual perspective, work has a deeper meaning and serves a higher purpose.
- Management learns to truly listen and builds a safe place where employees can speak the truth without fear of repercussions.
- Management will break down the walls of hierarchy to create a sense of community and inspire a sense of belonging in the workers.
- There is a new willingness to reflect on the meaning of life and moral implications in making important decisions. There is a shared attitude that products and services need to be beneficial to community and humanity.
- Management will value employees based on who they are, what they can become, rather than what they can do for the company.
- Bosses will treat employees in a responsible, respectful and caring way, because people are not instruments to be used and exploited. Research further shows that organizations that demonstrate valuation, mutual respect, and show consideration and concern for others report decreases in stress, burnout, and turnover, as well as increases in productivity Management will also resort to spiritual ways of resolving conflict. Therefore, they will be reluctant in issuing ultimatum and slow in the “firing trigger”.
- There will be a move from command-and-control leadership to horizontal servant leadership, which emphasizes empowering, delegation and cooperation.
- There will be an improvement in morale, job satisfaction, loyalty and productivity.
- Spiritual dimension will be fully integrated with every aspect of work life, such as relationships, planning, budgeting, negotiation, compensation, etc Spirituality As A Tool For Better Working Condition