When Business and Religion Collide

John Krautzel
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When modern business meets religion, complex issues arise. When business professionals are able to collaborate effectively, regardless of their religious backgrounds, then the workplace is harmonious. Overcome religious differences and cultivate a better work environment for all.

Learn About Cultural Differences

Learning about cultural and religious differences and moving past them is imperative to offer exemplary management. Workers of all religions should feel they are accepted and understood by coworkers in a balanced, ethical work environment. Every religion has special customs that its members are expected to follow, and some of these rules may conflict with certain practices in a modern workplace. Educate employees on the various religious affiliations that are in your workplace to help everyone develop an attitude of tolerance and understanding.

Negate Religious Discrimination

Your personal religious views as a business professional should never conflict with your evaluation of an employee, or else it is considered religious discrimination. By focusing on employees as skilled individuals rather than as members of a specific religious group, you separate business and religion before they clash. Offering all employees proper accommodations regardless of their religion is necessary in a diverse workplace.

Developing a strong human resources department is beneficial for creating a great work atmosphere with high employee morale. If a person's religious views do not prevent him from doing a job effectively, then the religious beliefs should not affect workplace operations. For example, some employees may request to wear a different uniform to comply with a religious moral code. These employees hold a constitutional right to do so if it does not create danger in the work environment.

Avoid Being Offensive

Respecting the religious differences of others is imperative to avoid being offensive to anyone within the company. Embarking on business partnerships with individuals of different religious backgrounds is valuable if you take precautions to avoid potentially offensive responses and behavior. Disrespecting another person's religious differences spells the end of promising employees, lucrative partnerships and profitable business transactions. Never engage in arguments with others over religious issues in a professional setting, or a lawsuit may be on the horizon. Use the power of communication to steer beyond religious differences, and meditate on the common values that you share with employees, managers and clients for more productive interactions.

Adopt a Neutral Stance

When business owners and managers mix too much of their religion into company culture and practice, they are seen as committing the ultimate business taboo. While your religious values are important on a personal level, business owners and managers that adopt a neutral stance in the workplace towards religion are more likely to avoid conflict.

In a highly diverse workplace, sponsoring celebrations and events that favor one religion over another is unfair and encourages isolation. Always give employees and managers the option to choose to not participate in various events if they do not want to.

Business and religion can blend harmoniously if the religious differences of a company's workers are respected. A modern business functions despite religious differences, but consider removing religious elements and discussions from business relations to avoid complexities and disagreements. A religious foundation within a company is an option, but mainstream ethical obligations are always necessary for lawful, successful work environments.


(Photo courtesy of Sira Anamwong / freedigitalphotos.net)


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