by Sue Warnke (via her Leanership blog)
Most companies are nervous about faith at work. They imagine worst-case scenarios: Will employees proselytize and make an uncomfortable work environment for others? What if religious views conflict with our core values or other diversity groups? If we allow one faith group, what about the 15 other faith groups that might pop up after that? How would we support them all? What if the largest faith dominates, making smaller faiths feel overshadowed? What if employees argue over theology? Will we lose trust with customers that don’t support faith in the workplace?
These are legitimate concerns. And they deserve to be heard. That’s where you come in.
Convincing your company to allow faith in the workplace begins with empathy. Our company leaders are in a tough spot. Faith at work is still new, with only about 20% of Fortune 100 companies overtly supporting faith at work. But the movement is increasing quickly, and companies will have to address it sooner or later. And only when your leaders feel heard will they be open to your data — data showing that the benefits of allowing faith in the workplace overwhelmingly outweigh the risks, that the risks are easy to mitigate with the proper protocols, and that blocking faith at work leads to far worse consequences, like employee attrition, reduced productivity, reduced sales, and even litigation.
Whether companies are ready or not, the time has come to begin the discussion. And if you want to be part of that transformation, you’ll need an effective pitch. Here are 20 best practices I’ve gathered from over four years of helping my company and dozens of others start effective faith groups.