by Paul Lambert
“You’ve enabled me to be who I am and I want to use that whole self and give it back to you.”
While this may sound like something said to a loved one, this quote is actually a statement made by an employee about their employer, Texas Instruments! What employer wouldn’t want to hear this kind of company loyalty?! The statement came during a conference hosted at Texas Instruments (TI) in 2019 to highlight the company’s efforts to proactively seek religious accommodation for all its employees.
Corporate America has, for several decades now, made big strides in recognizing the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and their impact on employee satisfaction and productivity, particularly around gender, sexual orientation, and race. But what about faith and belief? For many, faith and belief is the most foundational aspect of who they are and how they work.
However, the U.S. has a long way to go in terms of religious accommodation at work. A recent Tanenbaum survey found that 36% of American workers (50 million people) have experienced or witnessed religious discrimination in the workplace. The EEOC found that workplace religious discrimination complaints were nearly twice as high as complaints regarding sexual orientation in 2018. These are alarming data and reflect, in addition to a concerning void of human dignity for many, a tremendous loss of productivity.
Many of corporate America’s most successful companies are recognizing that problem and taking action. Examples include Salesforce’s employee resource group (ERG) focused on faith and belief, Faithforce, which is the company’s fastest growing ERG since its establishment in 2017. Alphabet/Google’s Inter Belief Network has been a huge success and a core component of Alphabet’s DEI initiatives and strategy. American Airlines has established various ERGs focused on faith to ensure employees feel comfortable and empowered at work, including Christian Jewish, Muslim ERGs.
Many more companies, including, TI, Tyson Foods, Dell, Intel, and Netflix have taken similar steps to ensure those of all faiths or none are able to bring their whole selves to work! These companies are leading their industries, in large part due to a culture of employee satisfaction. They’ve recognized that creating environments where employees feel whole and empowered create loyal, dedicated, productive employees.
Simply put, employees that feel accommodated and see others accommodated at work, including their faith, are better employees. And as Craig Carter from Intel noted at the 2020 Faith@Work ERG Conference, accommodation of faith and belief also has a significant impact on the three Rs, recruitment, retention, and revenue!
Is your company making the right steps to create an environment of accommodation for those of all faiths or none at all? Here at the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, our goal is to support companies that are seeking to create faith- and belief-friendly workplaces through data, gathered lessons learned from other companies, and training. Let us know how we can help you!
Come learn more from our session on March 10 at the Forum for Workplace Inclusion, titled, “Inclusivity, Faith, and Belief: How to navigate faith and belief in a way that creates a more inclusive and accommodating workplace.” Register here.