Editor’s Note: Article from DEI in Communications class at the University of TN / Chattanooga where I spoke on religious diversity.
Corporate America makes up nearly 45 percent of American employees. Each of those employees represent diversity in some form or fashion, representing an array of languages, cultures, classes, and religions. With these diverse aspects comes considering dealing with differences between employers, co-workers, CEO’s, etc. Religious Diversity seems to have the most significance when it comes to conflict or dealing with strategic communication. Religious Diversity plays an essential role in Corporate America, especially today in the age of Social Media and the public seeing what corporations are “all about.”
How a big corporation such as Delta, Nike, Target, Verizon, etc promotes being accepting of religion, no matter what religion, is essential from a Public Relations standpoint. Yes, they might look good on the outside to the public for consumer satisfaction and revenue, but it’s not always equally reflected within these corporations. Religion is defined by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by saying; “Religion is not limited to traditional, organized religions, but also includes religious beliefs that are practiced by a small group of people and are not part of a formal church or sect.” (SHRM 2008) Religious diversity really shows itself with respect in how employers handle accommodating time off for religious holidays. According to most corporate Human Resource Managers, they report they work with ”most” religious holidays meaning Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas etc- and not including holidays such as Diwali, Yom Kippur, Ramadan, etc.
Besides the social reputation of being Religiously Diverse, there are advantages for corporate America to promote diversity within and educate all employees and employers of all levels on why religious diversity is essential for a sustainability of a major corporation. “Employee Morale and employee retention are most affected by having a workplace that provides religious accommodation for its employees”. (SHRM 2008)12 To increase and encourage religious and spiritual diversity must educate the workplace about religious differences, by carrying out diversity education corporations will increase employee engagement, unity, and better professional success overall.
Since the pandemic, globalization has come to an all time high due to more opportunities for remote work. This links a variety of people to jobs that were previously unattainable due to location. This globalization includes not only the mixture of multiple cultures but also more religious diversity than seen previously. The majority of corporate companies are inclusive on their race inclusion but fail to mention their sensitivity for religious diversity. The concept of companies having an inclusive environment for faith not only benefits the employees from the company as well.”Faith inclusion is therefore an important indicator of an overall more welcoming workplace environment.” (WEFORUM 2020). Faith is a huge part of people’s daily lives, and corporate companies should be able to accommodate this inclusion within their work environment. The company should be able to encourage employees by being aware and considerate of religious diversity.
In America there is what is deemed to be the melting pot of culture and religion. The melting pot should not be united as one unit for different religious practices to deserve to be understood and respected. Corporate America has the responsibility to value diversity in religion by letting the uniqueness of different religions be brought forth. This helps individuals become more comfortable in their working environment. “To be competitive in today’s and tomorrow’s marketplaces, companies need to set this force for good free by including religion as a full-fledged part of their diversity, equity and inclusion commitments”( RELIGIOUS FREEDOM 2020).
The pandemic has certainly shifted the way we live our daily lives. The main benefit from the pandemic is the change in conversation and views it has stirred up in corporate America. This allows the word inclusion to be fully assessed and brought to light by bigger companies. There are changes coming for corporate America that should have happened a long time ago.
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