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5 Ways for Leaders to Support Faiths in the Workplace
Image source: Freepik
As we all make our way through the holy month of Ramadan, a topic that comes to the forefront is that of religion. It is now commonplace, almost standard, for businesses to give priority to such things as diversity, equity, and inclusion. But sometimes, faith can be left out of the equation. To avoid this, here are some ways that leaders can become more supportive of the religious needs of their employees.
1. Avoid stereotyping faiths.
With access to so much media around us, it can play a big role in shaping societal expectations and promoting images that can be unrealistic or inaccurate. It is important to note that people, no matter what religion, come from various ethnicities, backgrounds, and countries, so they may not fit the mold society defines for them. This includes how one practices their religion - one person from a certain faith might practice differently from another.
When in doubt, ask your colleague how they prefer to practice their faith and be sure to always respect it. In fact, showing curiosity about other people’s religions can make them feel more comfortable opening up about their practices.
2. Design company events and networking opportunities in a way that is inclusive of religion.
Many career opportunities can come out of interactions outside of the workplace. This is why it’s important to provide a space for people of faith to freely be comfortable in expressing their beliefs. An easy way is to consider if a colleague who only chooses to eat Halal has those options available during a company event. You can even center events around religious holidays that involve celebration, such as Iftar parties in Ramadan or Christmas gatherings.
3. Endorse awareness of different cultures
As previously mentioned, there can be misconceptions about people of certain religions. That’s why as a leader, you can help make the workplace more inclusive by promoting religious literacy and educating your peers and colleagues about different religions. By holding an open dialogue, you can help peers understand each other better through asking questions. This can result in better solidarity, camaraderie, and tolerance within the workplace.
4. Create an inclusive schedule for employees with faith-related needs.
When considering your colleagues’ faith, it needs to be known that some religions can have time-sensitive needs. An example is how Muslims need to perform prayers 5 times a day, with some of those times falling on work hours. Be understanding with their needs, allow a flexible schedule, and provide a private place for them where they can peacefully carry out their religious duties.
5. Always be ready to offer your compassion and support.
Sometimes, misconceptions can lead to the mistreatment of people of a certain culture or religion. Not all of the public are as educated about the truth. That’s why as a leader you should always keep an open mind as well as open ears whenever your colleagues have concerns. Let them know that you won’t judge them based on their beliefs. Check-in on their emotional well-being and help them to feel seen or heard.
By creating a more inclusive social environment through the inclusion of faith, you can ensure your team are able to not only foster better bonds with each other but enables better understanding between people of different cultures and backgrounds that can carry even outside the workplace.
Source: Harvard Business Review