Enabling Religious Inclusion At Work

To enable religious inclusion at work you should make it so everyone is comfortable enough to identify as following their religion without their religion impacting on their career. That isn’t the same as getting others involved in the religion or providing a platform or acceptability for people to push their own beliefs on others.

True religious inclusion at work comes from a culture of acceptance of each other’s differences and intolerance of prejudice or discrimination.

Six Ways To Enable Religious Inclusion At Work

  1. Avoid indirect discrimination
  2. Have a respectful culture
  3. Have zero tolerance of discrimination, prejudice, and hate speech
  4. Have adequate policies and practices
  5. Avoid faith-based bias
  6. Separate religion from identity
religious inclusivity at work being shown by group of people around a laptop

1) Avoid Indirect Discrimination

Indirect discrimination is where company policies or practices inadvertently exclude a group of people. It might be something seemingly innocuous like only holding team meetings in a pub (excluding religions that ban alcohol), or buying everyone bacon sandwiches on a Friday morning (excluding those who don’t eat pork or meat).

Or it might be more serious. For example, turban-wearing Sikh’s are exempt from wearing protective headwear in the workplace (with some exceptions). Indirect discrimination would be having a policy that fines or disciplines people who are not wearing a hard hat on site. Direct discrimination would be avoiding employing Sikhs because of concerns about an employee not wearing a hard hat.

Make sure your practices don’t accidentally exclude a group of people who have a belief or religion.

2) Have A Respectful Culture

Workplace cultures come from the top down. How management behaves is how the rest of the employees will behave.

Enabling religious inclusion at work can be as simple as senior leadership demonstrating respect for each other and the staff, regardless of their status, beliefs, or seniority. It might be as little as wishing a Jewish colleague a happy Hannukka!

Have a look at our downloadable HR Calendar for 2021 for the major religious festivals.

3) Have Zero Tolerance Of Discrimination, Prejudice, And Hate Speech

If one of your colleagues does participate or display intolerance, derogatory language, stereotyping, or discrimination, act swiftly and decisively.

Of course, it may not be your colleague’s intent to cause offence, and times and attitudes do change. But if it has the potential to cause offence, action should be taken. Letting offensive views and actions go without repremnd leads to an offensive workplace culture and will eradicate your efforts to make your workplace religiously inclusive.

Having no tolerance of that sort of behaviour sends a clear message to staff that it is not acceptable and your workplace is one of inclusion. It empowers the targets of bad behaviour too.

Follow your disciplinary process, or grievance procedure if appropriate.

two people in a warehouse taken from above representing workplace inclusion for blog by Metis HR

4) Have Adequate Policies And Practices

Having written policies and processes enables religious inclusion by standardising behaviour and activities across the business, allowing consistent best practice.

Taking the time to write down proper processes, such as recruitment or training, with a trained HR professional is a great idea. It helps you be consistently inclusive and avoid any direct or indirect discrimination.

5) Avoid Faith-Based Bias

Faith bases bias, whether conscious or unconscious can really impact on the religious inclusion in the workplace.

Making assumptions based on someone’s faith can be very harmful to a person’s career, self esteem, and happiness at work.

Assuming Muslim women aren’t dominant enough to succeed in managerial roles, or that Jewish people will be good in the financial department, for example, is stereotypical and harmful.

6) Separate Religion From Identity

Similar to the above point, don’t confuse a person’s religion with their identity.

Religious inclusive workplaces allow people to openly be religious, without pushing it on people or be questioned about it all the time. It means that your team members aren’t identified by their religion.

Similarly, the same respect and identity should be given to people who don’t have a religion.

Make sure you aren’t referring to ‘the Hindu chap’ or the ‘Muslim lady’, for example.

Make 2021 The Year Of Religious Inclusion At Work

Are you ready to tick ‘make workplace inclusive’ off your list? We can help!

Get in touch to arrange a consultation, book a session to craft your processes, or for help with a disciplinary or grievance. We are here for one off pieces of work or regular help.

Call us on 01706 565 332 or email info@metishr.co.uk.

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If you want to learn more about the content covered in this post, please get in touch.

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