Religious Inclusion in the Workplace: A Guide to Successful Multi-Faith Recruitment

Time to Read: 4.3 minutes

Updated: May 14, 2024

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is a term that covers a rainbow of issues, all of which employers need to address if they want to achieve their goals. Many organizations focus their DEI efforts on race and gender but it’s clear that to create truly diverse workplaces we need to broaden our focus. Religious inclusion in the workplace is a topic that often gets overlooked, but without working towards a more tolerant multi-faith organization, can we truly say we have created an inclusive place to work?

Benefits of Religious Diversity in the Workplace

There are benefits to a more diverse and inclusive workplace culture. DEI strategies that include religious inclusion alongside other forms of diversity can:

  • Improve collaboration as employees learn tolerance, understanding and respect.
  • Bring innovative approaches to problem-solving thanks to the unique insights and experiences of different groups.
  • Lower employee turnover. With better morale and engagement, employees are more likely to prefer to stay with you rather than look elsewhere.
  • Higher productivity. Happier employees, work harder and are more successful at meeting their goals.

The Consequences of Failure

But what happens if you fail to create religious inclusion in the workplace? The biggest consequence for organizations that don’t consider religious inclusion as part of their DEI strategy is a lack of compliance with legal regulations.

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has seen a dramatic rise in the number of religious discrimination cases brought before it over the last two years. Previously religious charges averaged at around 3% of cases, however in 2022 nearly 19% of charges brought before the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2022 were for religious discrimination. The Society for Human Resource Management explores some of the more recent important cases in this area.

What’s clear though is that employers need to be more mindful of religious inclusion issues if they want to avoid non-compliance with the law.

5 Ways to Incorporate Religious Inclusion Successfully

To create greater religious inclusion in the workplace, you can adopt a few key strategies. The following bullet points outline practical steps to achieve religious inclusion and create an atmosphere where all employees feel valued and accommodated:

1. Reduce Unconscious Bias

Working to reduce unconscious bias, particularly throughout your hiring process should be your first step towards religious inclusion in the workplace. Training hiring teams to recognize and address unconscious biases by implementing blind recruitment practices, standardizing interview questions and evaluation criteria and actively seeking candidates from diverse sourcing channels ensures a fair assessment and broadens your talent pool.

2. Establish Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

Giving employees of different faiths the option to create dedicated Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) can be a great way to support religious inclusion. ERGs serve as a platform for employees to discuss and break taboos surrounding religion at work, creating an open dialogue that encourages understanding.

ERGs can also take on an educational role with your organization, informing others about religious practices and cultural sensitivities. ERGs can advise and inform policies and accommodations, offering insights into religious observances and making sure that policies are inclusive and respectful.

3. Create Inclusive Policies

Supporting religious inclusion in the workplace requires organizations to have policies that include everyone’s religious beliefs. This means having inclusive dress codes and being considerate of different religious holidays and work weeks or offering multi-faith chaplains alongside other wellbeing and counselling services.

When it comes to vacation time and scheduling, offering flexibility and shows respect for the needs of different groups and an understanding of the diverse backgrounds of your employees. With dress codes, it’s important to be inclusive while still considering health and safety. Most importantly you need to be clear and transparent about why you make specific accommodations for certain employees.

4. Provide Spaces for Reflection

Providing employees with dedicated spaces for prayer or reflection acknowledges and respects diverse religious practices and in doing so, you not only create an inclusive atmosphere but also contribute to the overall well-being. If a dedicated space is not possible, you can also set aside meeting rooms for specific times.

Consider what else you can include in a dedicated space such as prayer mats, washing facilities, chairs, curtains, and storage that will improve utility and comfort for employees and groups using the room. And it is important to provide clear guidelines on what the space is to be used for, to prevent confusion and make sure that it serves its intended purpose without any overlap with other functions.

5. Offer Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awareness Training

A good DEI training program should cover all types of diversity including race, sexuality, gender and religion. The aim is to give all employees, from junior staff to senior management, an understanding of the value an inclusive workplace can have on organizational success.

With DEI training everyone in your organization will learn to embrace difference, and to see it as an asset to their ability to collaborate, innovate and be productive and be provided with the tools to apply inclusive principles to their everyday work, building a culture of respect.

If you are looking for innovative ways to improve your talent attraction and retention Pierpoint’s full service RPO solution could be the answer. Talk to an expert today to discuss your talent needs.

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Jen Mulholland

Jen is a successful recruitment and marketing professional. Driven by a genuine passion for writing, she provides insightful, accurate and engaging content for the Human Resources community across a wide range of topics and industries.

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