Spirituality in the workplace boosts morale, values among employees

(Photo: Reuters)

Promoting spirituality in the workplace impacts individuals and teams positively as it builds a sense of community, cultivates compassion, strengthens values and provides a support system for those faced with personal trials, says one minister. 

According to Jesuit priest Fr Aristotle Dy, who serves as President of Xavier School in the Philippines, organisations need to place importance on the development of their workforce because people bring their entire selves to work - body, mind and spirit.

"It is normal for people to seek a sense of security in their work, not only in terms of their job but perhaps in their level of happiness, morale, and connection with their team and the other individuals they face at work," he said.

Fr Dy suggested the implementation of 'generic' spiritual activities in the workplace so as not to leave out those who belong to a different religion or denomination.

He suggested that organisations hold special talks and activities to coincide with religious festivals or important dates to provide an avenue for those who want to share their faith beliefs and practices with their co-workers.

Providing a place in which employees can worship or meditate is also a good investment for companies, he said, because this can serve as a refuge and a place of prayer for those who need some time out.

Having meditation and quiet sessions similarly encourage workers to have moments of silence to reflect, and have a positive effect on employees because wisdom can be gained in silence, he said. They can also be enjoyed by individuals regardless of religion, he noted.

Fr Dy suggested organising company retreats as a way of increasing the bond between co-workers by giving them opportunities to share experiences with each other.

Numerous experts on productivity in the workplace have acknowledged the importance of giving room to spirituality.

A constant reference point for understanding the impact of spirituality in the workplace is the body of research done by McKinsey and Company in Australia, which found that productivity improves and the turnover of employees is greatly reduced when companies engage in programmes that use spiritual techniques with their employees.

Business professor Ian I Mitroff, in his book A Spiritual Audit of Corporate America, said: "Spirituality could be the ultimate competitive advantage."

This was echoed by Tom Dailey, former business executive Morgan Stanley in Chicago, who said: "If you don't have values, ethics, and integrity instilled in your employees, eventually you're going to have some ethical [problem] and you're going to lose money. The other side is that I can show you statistics that say companies that view their employees in a holistic sense tend to have higher profit trajectories. It stands to reason that employees who feel more involved and cared about are likely to be more dedicated employees, and this will increase productivity."

David Hawkins, owner of Nouveau Communication Strategies and 40 year veteran in the business, said of his experience: "At the end of the day, we are dealing with people, so in a sense it is just that simple. People respond to being treated, communicated with, and dealt with in a respectful and helpful way. Having a set of values and principles can encourage them to live up to their highest sense of being, whatever that may be."