8 Ways To Promote Religious Diversity In The Workplace
Faith is an integral part of every employee, making religious diversity in the workplace imperative for every business leader. A religiously-diverse workplace is a symbol of inclusivity, positivity, and tolerance.
As a modern-day leader, you can't ignore religious diversity's influence on creating an inclusive culture. With the shift to remote work, hiring people from new and different geographies has become infinitely easier. As a result, the likelihood of hiring people of other religions has risen exponentially.
Religion is not easily visible like race, ethnicity, or gender, yet it is omnipresent, and you cannot ignore its existence in the workplace. Religion and equality are a significant part of your workplace culture. Thus, we need to acknowledge religious differences and treat everyone with equal respect and dignity.
Has your workplace paid attention to religious affiliations? Have you wondered how to promote religious equality in the workplace?
Let’s find out the eight ways to promote religious diversity in the workplace, but first, we must know the basics.
What Does Religion Diversity in the Workplace Mean?
Modern workplaces have developed new rules and regulations to support every employees’ wellbeing and safety. For the vast majority of workplaces, this has meant fostering an inclusive culture that does not discriminate based on gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, caste, or any other factor.
Similarly, religious diversity is about making a safe working environment for every employee irrespective of religious beliefs. It is about ensuring there is no workplace bullying concerning religious hatred. Every employee must get equal recognition regardless of their spiritual practices.
Even though companies must follow the rules protecting employees from religious discrimination, they are not ironclad. There are always some grey areas, especially when it comes to religion at work.
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission outlines The Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on religion at work. And, as equal opportunity employers, we must know it thoroughly and follow it ardently.
So, something that is so serious cannot be misjudged and neglected. We must all be more proactive in creating a workplace that embraces religious differences rather than sweeping them under the rug. Only then will employees begin to experience a strong feeling of belonging, and experience enhanced employee productivity.
So, how to promote religious diversity in the workplace? Here are eight ways. Quickly take a look.
8 Ways to Promote Religious Diversity in the Workplace
1. Educate yourself and your team
Education and awareness is the first step in supporting religious diversity in the workplace or understanding any community or gender for that matter. You must ensure employees are well aware of the religious differences of colleagues. Doing so will ensure your workers are mindful of their actions if they’re on the verge of offending their co-workers belonging to a specific religious background.
Some workers tend to be privileged as they belong to the religious majority and are unaware of the nitty-gritty of certain beliefs, which might spark insensitivity. To educate your employees about other religious minorities, start by appointing a representative from each faith to the company's diversity committee. You can also hold diversity training sessions once a month or so, where each representative speaks and informs about the intricacies of their religion.
2. Refrain from hurting religious beliefs
Workplace bullying is a common discriminatory factor, especially towards religious minorities. And this gives birth to a toxic workplace environment that you must get rid of. Bullying equals workplace harassment and leaves no room for tolerance at work.
You must ensure strict policies against workplace bullying that might hurt people’s religious beliefs and identities. When we speak about gender equality in the workplace, we must also talk about religious equality and make sure we do not hurt anybody’s religious sentiments.
3. Say NO to religious hatred.
The next way to promote religious diversity in the workplace is by imposing strict rules against religious hate against coworkers. Every worker will not understand every workers’ faith and belief system. Hence, the management must intervene here and follow a zero-tolerance rule towards any religious hate in the workplace.
Moreover, workplace harassment is a shame for any company to encourage employees or employers, no matter who commits it. Thus, imposing such rules will prevent discriminatory offenses and keep you away from heavy lawsuits.
4. Introduce a silent room
A silent room is nothing but a prayer or devotion room for religious and atheist employees. You must make this are accessible for all workers irrespective of their religious status. Also, calling this area a silent room is suitable because workers won’t feel uncomfortable leaving their work and spending some time here. You must also ensure this room must not have any religious symbols to make it inclusive for all.
5. Encourage a flexible dress code.
Not all workers wear only suits and skirts; some also wear sarees, hijab, or a kippah. If you have a dress code at work, you must accommodate religious wear along with the dress code. Even better, you can get rid of the dress code.
This is a step towards progress and diversity and inclsuion in the workplace. Overall, it also helps to get rid of gender inequality in the workplace because it allows women and other genders to be themselves.
6. Sanction religious holidays
Apart from the public holidays, make it a point to provide paid holidays for major religious holidays of different faiths. Any forward-thinking workplace that promotes religious diversity allows its diverse employees to take time off for religious holidays.
So, these holidays must not cover public holidays, underpaid, unpaid, or annual leaves. Doing so will enhance employee motivation and satisfaction. Moreover, this is a way of employee appreciation that will also improve employee retention in the company.
7. Take note of dietary restrictions.
Some workers who belong to diverse religious backgrounds follow specific dietary restrictions. For example, Muslim folks refrain from consuming pork or eating halal meat. Similarly, some workers do not drink alcohol or meat only on selected days.
Your workplace must be mindful of such dietary standards that your employees prefer. Suppose you’re offering free snacks in the office. You must guarantee that your employer provides a variety of halal, vegan, kosher, and vegetarian options.
Also, if you’re organizing team lunches, you must have various options considering everyone's needs. And try to keep the choice of non-alcoholic beverages along with alcoholic drinks.
8. Religious Diversity must start from orientation.
When a new employee joins your company, you must ensure that they are immersed in a rich inclusion culture, including religious diversity. Every employee must know about the no-discrimination policy from the very first day.
When you emphasize respect to every new hire, they will learn to align themselves and not indulge in any offensive behaviors or actions. Also, if someone belongs to a religious minority, they will feel both psychologically and physically safe in your company right from the start.
Similarly, while promoting religious diversity, you must also highlight to your new hires that there will be no discrimination based on race, gender, sexuality, or ethnicity.
These eight ways to promote religious diversity will help you fine-tune your diversity and inclusion programs and make them more effective. You'll be able to foster workplace peace, love, and equitable respect by promoting positive peer-to-peer relationships in the workplace.