Having Faith in Business

By Brian Grim

It’s not surprising that the pandemic led to a resurgence of faith. What is surprising is that the corporate world is embracing it. While diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives in workplaces have focused on race, gender, sexual orientation, and marginalized populations, one aspect that’s been strikingly left out of the conversation is now emerging: faith. As global workplaces become radically reshaped to address inclusivity, purpose and employee wellbeing, more companies are now tapping into the full identity of their employees by including religion as a full-fledged part of their DEI commitments—encouraging employees to form official (company-sponsored) groups around their faith, just as companies encourage women, people of color and LGBTQ+ groups to do.

It makes smart business sense. Religion is an important identifier for more than 84% of people in the world and religious populations are outgrowing nonreligious populations by 23 to 1. Inclusivity around faith has an eye-opening impact on recruiting, retention and revenues and is a powerful factor in employee health and resiliency.

More companies are making moves. Intel has established seven different faith/belief ERGs not only for major faiths, but for atheists, agnostics and small faiths such as Bahá’í—and they report significant business impact. Google, who until recently had a “no religion” policy, launched the Inter Belief Network (IBN), so employees could establish sub-chapters for faiths including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism.

Inclusive workplaces where all faiths are equally valued (including non-theists) enriches corporate culture, and it’s a dramatically new aspect of workplace wellness.

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