Spirituality in the Workplace
Workplace Spirituality or Spirituality in the Workplace
Is a movement that began in the early 1990s. It emerged as a grassroots movement with individuals seeking to live their faith and/or spiritual values in the workplace. One of the first publications to mention spirituality in the workplace was Business Week, June 5, 2005. The cover article was titled "Companies hit the road less traveled: Can spirituality enlighten the bottom line?" However, prior to that, William Miller wrote an article titled "How Do We Put Our Spiritual Values to Work," published in "New Traditions in Business: Spirit and Leadership in the 21st Century" edited by John Renesch, 1992, San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler. Gilbert Fairholm wrote "Capturing the Heart of Leadership: Spiritual Community in the New American Workplace" in 1997 and Jay Conger wrote "Spirit at Work: Discovering the Spirituality in Leadership" in 1994, both considered germinal works in the field. Spiritual or spirit-centered leadership is a topic of inquiry frequently associated with the workplace spirituality movement (Benefiel, 2005; Biberman, 2000; Fry, 2005; Giacalone & Jurkiewicz, 2003; Jue, 2006).
Spirituality in the workplace (often called ‘holistic thinking’) can be seen as managers and staff applying a heightened level of awareness towards others, in an altruistic way.
Key benefits of this approach include:
- Managers and staff with more positive, developmental attitudes towards work and progress;
- People with a greater degree of objectivity and fairness;
- Increased creativity and productivity;
- More staff loyalty and better retention of managers and staff.
Spiritual England is encouraging a more spiritual approach within workplaces. This applies to inter-personal skills, management practices and staff development. We want to:
- Make contact with companies and organisations that are actively developing and applying spiritual practices;
- Help companies and organisations wishing to improve their current skills, techniques and awareness in spirituality within the workplace.
What makes a ‘spiritual worker’ within business or your organisation?
Spirituality in the Workplace develops and supports people who:
- Can think co-operatively and/or altruistically;
- Have a balanced, objective view of the world;
- Can listen as much as/more than they speak;
- Apply three-dimensional, ‘bigger picture’ thinking;
- Believe in some higher driving force and purpose;
- Find the time to think things through objectively;
- Think laterally in order to promote realistic solutions;
- Encourage and empower others selflessly;
- Work open-mindedly with a wide range of people;
- Consistently display integrity and trust;
- Expect the best from people.
Notice that there is very little religious about these criteria – indeed most of them could be considered as general good business practice, without even being overtly spiritual. Perhaps the spirituality element is the importance of these criteria being practiced consistently and co-operatively, with over-lying altruistic intent. This, evidently, takes effort to introduce, monitor and maintain – making the initial preparation of the management structure, practice and support vital to the success of a spiritual or holistic approach.