Working for workplace religious diversity, equity & inclusion

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RFBF welcomes Dave Law as a UK Workplace Fellow

12 Jun, 2024

RFBF welcomes David Law, Bsc (Hons) CSci CChem MRSC, as a UK Workplace Fellow!

Dave is one of the founders of the Faith at Work project in the UK, a movement of over 50 companies which encourages employers to support religion and belief in the workplace and support people of faith to bring their whole soul to work.

David led a group who shared the project with the British Prime Minister’s office, 10 Downing Street, in July 2023, and with the British Parliament All Party Parliamentary Group on International Freedom of Religion and Belief. Dave was one of the organisers of Faith in the Workplace conference on the 4th March 2024 in London (see timeline).

David is also an associate of Transform Work, a charity that supports Christian Workplace groups. He is analytical Chemist for Thames Water and lives in Reading with his wife and daughter.

Founding of the Ireland InterFaith Business Network

8 Jun, 2024

Yes indeed, think global act local

There is a global movement towards making workplaces religiously inclusive. This faith-and-belief-friendly initiative is global, but it is propelled by people in companies acting locally in ways that fit the environments where they work and live.

On Friday, ServiceNow Interfaith EMEA Lead Mariana Ciocca Alves Passos welcomed people from numerous companies and interfaith organisations based in Dublin to what was, as we concluded, the founding of the Ireland InterFaith@Work network.

Participants came from multiple sectors including financial services (Citigroup and PayPal), professional services (Accenture), and health (Bluebird Care), along with public sector employers such as the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

The network will plan towards a similar launch as we had of the US network in 2020 (now in its fifth year) and the UK network earlier this year.

ServiceNow is a top faith-and-belief company, participating in the REDI Index for three years running. This year ServiceNow’s debuted on the Fortune 500 list, reflecting the growth of the company, which  helps organizations of every size, in every industry, put AI to work for people. They estimate that 85% of the Fortune 500 have modernized their technology with ServiceNow.

Dare to Overcome: Keeping the Momentum Going

30 May, 2024

Join us on 13th June at 12pm ET (11am CT/9am PT) for a virtual follow up to our recent Faith@Work conference in Washington DC. DELL Technologies Interfaith ERG leaders will describe the “who, what, where, when, how & why” of the Feed the Hungry service project that they led at the Dare to Overcome conference.

This event will help you take the initiative to your own company and communities, and also serve as a networking opportunity to bring us together post conference. We will test out a new conference platform ‘nouri,’ which allows people to connect on the website and nouri app – register today!

Religious freedom and integral human development: A new global platform

29 May, 2024

A one-day conference exploring innovative frameworks and strategies for fostering religion-sensitive and inclusive policies and engagements.

  • Virtual: TUE, JUNE 18, 2024 • 9:00 AM ET
  • Rome: WED, JUNE 5, 2024 • invitation only

The correlation between religious freedom and sustainable development has been largely overlooked. Despite its pivotal importance, religious freedom is scarcely addressed within the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and has notably been absent from global policy discussions on international development.

Failure to prioritize and nurture religious freedom may precipitate a resurgence of religious nationalism and extremism. Conversely, safeguarding religious freedom bolsters the prospects for lasting peace and contributes to the advancement of multiple SDGs.

This one-day conference aims to explore innovative frameworks and strategies for fostering religion-sensitive and inclusive policies and engagements. Additionally, it seeks to provide empirical evidence highlighting the relationship between religious freedom and economic development.

Tune in on June 18 at 9:00 a.m. ET to access the broadcast and exclusive coverage of the event.

 

Marsie Sweetland: ERG Leader of the Year

28 May, 2024

Washington DC, May 21, 2024: Marsie Sweetland was recognized as the ERG Leader of the Year at the 2024 Dare to Overcome conference, the annual gathering of Fortune 500 Faith@Work ERGs and allies. She was recognized for her outstanding contributions at Equinix and in the Fortune 500 to advance Covenantal Pluralism through faith-and-belief-friendly workplaces worldwide. The award was presented by Dr. Brian Grim, president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, and Rebecca (Becky) Pomerleau, CPA, VP and Chief Audit Executive at Leslie’s, and an interfaith employee resource group (ERG) pioneer.

UK Religion and Belief Inclusion at Work Conference 2024

28 May, 2024

The current workplace landscape is witnessing a growing emphasis on religion and belief inclusion. This is crucial for creating a genuinely inclusive environment respecting a range of beliefs. Strides have been made to include various religious events and holidays, as well as reflection spaces for religious individuals. However, challenges persist, such as a lack of respect and tolerance towards different cultures and sometimes discrimination, whether intentional or unintentional. Companies need to engage effectively with employees to understand and meet their religious and belief-related needs.

  • — A study in 2013 found Muslims face particularly high levels of job discrimination, with Muslim men being up to 76% less likely to be employed compared to their white, male, British Christian peers. (Khattab & Johnston, 2013)
  • — Inside Out conducted an experiment in 2017 finding candidates with the “Adam” compared to candidates named “Mohamed” received 3 times more interviews, despite having identical CVs.
  • — In 2021 ComRes Faith Research Centre survey found about 3% of workers reported experiencing religious discrimination firsthand, while 4% were aware of others facing similar discrimination.
  • — By 2023, 219 companies in the fortune 500 clearly outline religion and diversity on their websites, up from 202 in 2022 and 43 companies publicly report having faith-oriented ERGs

Join us at The Religion and Belief Inclusion at Work Conference 2024 to collaborate on innovative approaches to harness the full potential of your organisation. Learn and benefit from a series of best practice case studies on a range of topics including creating flexible workplace policies to promote religious inclusivity, engaging with employees to assess their religious needs, and promoting education and awareness to create an open and productive working environment for all. You will also have the chance to network with senior colleagues and learn methods to drive support and wellbeing services that will allow your organisation to create an inclusive religious and belief environment.

Why Attend:

✓ Hear high-level keynotes on the latest initiatives in Religion and Belief Inclusion at Work from experts across a range of sectors

✓ Learn from case studies showcasing best practices in producing policies for religious diversity, support structures for employees, and celebrating such diversity

✓ Network with senior colleagues from a variety of sectors

✓ Gain 4 hours of CPD points towards your yearly quota

Dublin Faith@Work Roundtable

27 May, 2024

Dublin Faith@Work Roundtable

Join us at the Faith@Work Roundtable – we’ll discuss how religion & belief are part of workplace diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

Come join us for an engaging discussion at our Dublin Faith@Work Roundtable event! Connect with like-minded individuals who are passionate about encouraging people to bring their whole selves and souls to work.

Experiences from companies as diverse as Rolls-Royce, Google, and Salesforce will be shared and explored as models for faith-and-belief-friendly workplaces. With the launch of the US and UK Faith@Work Networks, we’re looking to develop an Ireland Network as well.

Hosted at ServiceNow Ireland, join keynote speaker Dr. Brian Grim to share ideas, gain insights, and network with professionals from various industries. This in-person gathering is a great opportunity to learn, grow, and be inspired. Don’t miss out on this unique chance to explore the intersection of faith and work!

Questions? Email Mariana Ciocca Alves Passos (mariana.ciocca@servicenow.com), ServiceNow Interfaith EMEA Lead.

Reserve a spot today!

Brian Grim to speak at Shape the World Summit 2024

23 May, 2024

  • – Singapore
  • – 21 June 2024

The Shape the World Summit 2024 is a creative platform to share and discuss ideas to improve the state of our world by inspiring better organisations through unity and innovation by design with 5,800 leaders since 2005.’

Organised by Consulus, which is on a mission to shape a better and inclusive economic system by helping leaders, companies, and cities discover their better selves by enabling them to become the difference they are meant to be from the inside out.

Brian Grim will participate in the 21st June discussion on “Circle of Trust,”  which explores how a core circle can uphold trust within a movement for impactful change.

Report: Religious Inclusion No Longer “Next” Big Thing, Surge of Religiously Inclusive Companies is the Big Thing NOW

20 May, 2024

American Airlines, Accenture Earn Top Ratings on New REDI Index and Monitor, A Record Number of Companies Join National Faith@Work Conference

IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Washington, DC — America’s biggest companies are embracing religiously inclusive workplaces at a faster pace than ever before, according to the 2024 Corporate Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (REDI) Index and Monitor, released by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF).

The REDI report finds that 429 (85.8%) Fortune 500 companies now mention or illustrate religion as part of their broader commitment to diversity, more than double the number in 2022 (202 companies, or 40.4%). The study also found a 68% increase in the number of Fortune 500 companies showcasing that they have faith-oriented employee business resource groups (EBRGs), rising from 37 companies in 2022 to 62 in 2024.

American Airlines and Accenture are the most religiously inclusive global companies, according to the 5th annual REDI Index.

“They are a role model for best practices of religious inclusion for other companies around the world,” said RFBF Founder and President Brian Grim. “Their progress in benchmarking this area of diversity is an invitation for every company to join this journey.”

“At American Airlines, our purpose is to care for people on life’s journey, including our customers and our 130,000 team members,” said Cedric Rockamore, VP, Global People Operations and Chief Diversity Officer. “A key component of caring is creating a diverse and inclusive culture where we can bring our authentic selves to work daily. We are so pleased to be recognized as #1 on the Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (REDI) Index for our ongoing commitment to being a religiously inclusive workplace. Our team members, across all faiths and beliefs, help us better understand and serve our customers around the world.”

“At Accenture, we are committed to helping all our people thrive,” Accenture’s Global Change Management Lead and Interfaith ERG Lead Sumreen Ahmad said. “Recognition as a leader in the interfaith space from partners such as the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation demonstrates the importance of religion and faith to our people and as part of our overall inclusion and diversity efforts.”

FULL REPORT available here.

The REDI Index is a first-in-class benchmarking system for measuring how well companies integrate religion (including non-theistic beliefs) into their communications, policies, and programs.

Full executive summary and report of the 2024 Corporate Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (REDI) Index and Monitor found at this link.  

Other top faith-and-belief friendly companies among the U.S Fortune 500 include Equinix (#2), DELL (#3), both rising in the rankings this year. Salesforce and Intel (tied for #4), and Tyson Foods (#6) moved up two spots. AIG, American Express, PayPal, Intuit, Texas Instruments, and Google round out the top 12 on the Fortune 500 list.

“Equinix knows we can best innovate and serve our customers when we have an inclusive culture where we each bring the best parts of ourselves to work,” Equinix’s Maria Medrano, VP, Global Head of Community, Diversity & Inclusion, said. “This includes religious identities, an aspect that’s important for three in four Americans according to the latest Gallup data. Religious inclusion opens our world even more, allowing for diversity, connection-building, and a fostering of learning and respect.”

“The hard work and commitment of Interfaith’s leadership team enhances our inclusive culture for everyone,” Dell President of Global Sales & Customer Operations Bill Scannell added. “I am continually proud of the community and connection our Interfaith ERG members provide within Dell Technologies. It is an honor to be one of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation’s Top Faith Friendly Companies for 2024.”

“At TI, faith-based networks are an important aspect of our inclusive workplace,” said Yesenia Moore, vice president for Talent Management, Diversity and Inclusion at TI. “The REDI Index recognition highlights the diverse backgrounds and perspectives our employees bring to make TI a great place to work for all people, which we believe makes our company stronger.”

The Intel Corporation’s Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Vice President of Social Impact, Dawn Jones said, “Getting involved with a faith-based ERG has many benefits to the individual employee and helps us build an environment of innovation, inclusion and enthusiasm for Intel as a great place to work.”

 New participant BMC comes in at #1 among companies not on the Fortune 500 list. “We celebrate this milestone not only as a testament to our efforts but also as a reaffirmation of our dedication to building a more inclusive world for all,” BMC’s Global Head of Corporate Citizenship & Impact Wendy Rentschler said. “Inclusion isn’t just a goal; it’s a fundamental pillar of our organizational culture, driving innovation, collaboration, and sustainable growth.”

This year’s REDI Index includes the first major bank, health care system, comprehensive services firm, big four accounting firm, Aerospace manufacturer, and metal galvanizing firm, among others.

“At Citi, we foster an inclusive environment where all can thrive as their authentic selves,” said Erika Irish Brown, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer and Head of Talent. “For many, that includes feeling safe practicing and sharing their faith at work, whether through the clothing and head coverings they wear, the food they eat, when and how often they pray throughout the day, or even taking time off to practice their faith.”

Kaiser Permanente Vice President Laura Long said, “Kaiser Permanente is excited to be the first health system to participate in the Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (REDI) Index. Embracing religious diversity strengthens our organization and enhances respect, understanding, and collaboration by tapping into the collective power of individuals from varied lived experiences and backgrounds.”

Metal galvanizing firm AZZ CEO Tom Ferguson, said “We at AZZ are truly appreciative of the recognition of our efforts to create a faith friendly work culture in support of our mission to grow servant leaders.”

Among other first-time participants, West Monroe’s Casey Foss, Chief Commercial Officer, added, “West Monroe is committed to fostering an environment where every individual can bring their whole self to work, including their religious beliefs. We strive to cultivate a place of mutual understanding, recognizing that the diverse experiences and faiths our employees carry with them daily profoundly impact how they experience work.”

 Outside the US Fortune 500, Qualtrics continues to make progress in benchmarking success. “At Qualtrics, we value being a diverse, equitable and inclusive team, and we believe our differences make us stronger,” said Julia Anas, Qualtrics Chief People Officer.”

General Fortune 500 Findings (REDI Index + REDI Monitor)

  • — 429 companies (85.8%) mention, refer to or illustrate religion on their main diversity landing page, up from 202 (40%) in 2022
  • — 62 companies (12.4%) publicly report having faith-oriented ERGs, up from 37 companies (7.4%) in 2022
  • — The average REDI Monitor score across Fortune 500 companies increased from 2.1 in 2023 to 3.6 in 2024, further indicating a surge of attention to religious inclusion and diversity.

 Key Survey Findings Among 32 Top Faith-Friendly Companies (REDI Index)

  • — 94% featured religion on company’s main or other diversity page, up from 92% in 2023
  • — 97% sponsor faith and belief employee resource groups, up from 92%
  • — 94% share best practices with other companies or organizations, up from 88%
  • — 94% clearly address religion in diversity training, down from 96%
  • — 87% provide chaplains or other spiritual care for employees, up from 80%
  • — 94% are attentive to how religion impacts stakeholders, up from 80%
  • — 94% communicate accommodation policies for employee religious needs, up from 92%
  • — 91% annually announce procedures for reporting religious discrimination, down from 96%
  • — 100% report that their employees attend religious diversity professional conferences, up from 92%
  • — 72% match employee donations to religious charities, the same as in 2023
  • — 100% equitably celebrate or honor holy days of their employees, involving thousands

Other notable findings and impact of the study

  • — Recognizing the work of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, the White House has recognized that Faith-and-belief ERGs are a practical way that companies across America are building cultures of mutual respect and allyship. ERGs are recognized as an effective way to combat antisemitism, Islamophobia, and all related forms of religious discrimination and bias.
  • — In all, more than 3.4 million people are employed by companies participating in the REDI Index survey.
  • — Companies participating in the REDI Index include global leaders in professional services (Accenture), technology (Bosch), retail (Target), internet (Google), food (Tyson), electronics (DELL), manufacturing (Intel), airlines (American Airlines), customer relationship management (Salesforce), financial services (American Express), semiconductors (Texas Instruments), insurance (AIG), and energy (CMS energy).
  • — Citigroup is the first major bank, KPMG is the first Big Four accounting firm, Kaiser Permanente is the first Health System, Aramark is the first in the comprehensive services field, and Rolls-Royce is the first in the Aerospace manufacturing industry to opt in.
  • — The APPENDIX to the report (pages 27-29) has a useful article by Kent Johnson, JD, for HR and DEI professionals titled What Faith-Oriented DEI Contributes to “Belonging”. In short, a religiously inclusive workplace produces a deep and wide sense of BELONGING to the entire enterprise.

The release of RFBF’s 5th annual report once again coincides with this year’s “Dare to Overcome” conference in Washington DC. Hundreds of EBRG leaders share research about the link between religious inclusion and greater employee well-being, retention, and overall productivity as well as ways to improve policies and practices that promote a “faith-friendly” workplace, free of hate, harassment, or discrimination.

Sessions over the 2-day program focus on action steps for building support for a faith-based BERG, exploring programmatic approaches to growing engagement, and fostering dialogue to bridge cultural divides and collaboration toward shared ideals. Speakers and sponsors include Dell, American Airlines, Accenture, Coca Cola Consolidated, Equinix, AZZ, Deloitte, Paypal, Merck, Service Now and others.

Outstanding individuals are also spotlighted. The ERG Leader of the Year Award recognizes a champion for putting the principles of Covenantal Pluralism into practice within their own company and across companies and society. The A21 Catalyst Award highlights an ERG’s effort to raise awareness and impact to combat Human Trafficking.

For the first time, conference attendees are participating in a social impact activity to raise awareness and encourage action against global hunger in commemoration of World Hunger Day. DELL Technologies, in consultation with the Busch School of Business, CVS Health, and Merck, is leading a hands-on “feed the hungry” community action, packaging food onsite for the homeless in collaboration with The Nation’s Mosque, Catholic Charities, and the Helping Hands initiative of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Olivia Lang, Founder, Higher Purpose Consulting LLC, helping to organize the service event, said “The Food for the Hungry Sponsorship is a cause which merits the generous support and devoted efforts of the corporate  community. I am so grateful to Dell Technologies and the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation for leading with compassion and prioritizing the needs of our most vulnerable.This is what true corporate citizenship looks like!”

Grim founded RFBF with a mission to make the case that religious freedom is not just good for the economy, but also for business, through research, workshops and thought leadership. With a background in research of religion and world affairs, he served as director of international data at Pew Research Center and as chair of the World Economic Forum’s global council on faith.

For more information, contact media@religiousfreedomandbusiness.org

  • Phone – Gary Ritterstein: 321-243-9780

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ABOUT THE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND BUSINESS FOUNDATION

The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF) is the preeminent organization dedicated to educating the global business community, policymakers, non-government organizations and consumers about the positive power that faith and religious freedom for all (including those with no religious faith) have on workplaces and the economy. RFBF is a non-partisan, nonpolitical, multi-faith registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization in the United States with work worldwide. It does not take a position on current political debates. For more information, please visit religiousfreedomandbusiness.org.