Don’t Check Your Faith At The Door

I talk with so many people who are disheartened by corporate life. When I read Glassdoor reviews, I’m struck by the similarities of the complaints. While we talk frequently about millennials and whether they have different expectations for their work life than prior generations, I hear the same discontent from people of other generations who may be getting closer to the end of their career or are right in the middle of their working life. These more seasoned professionals comment that the corporate world is “sucking the life out of them,” and they wonder whether they can keep going until retirement. And this sentiment is certainly not limited to the corporate atmosphere. For those who work in physically demanding jobs, the feelings are the same and are compounded by the physical toll that this work takes on their bodies.

Burnout is real and common in the workplace today. That’s why a faith community within the walls of the company can have a tremendous impact. Employees are longing for something positive, encouraging and uplifting in their work environment. When we announced the formation of a faith-based employee resource group at my company, the response was incredible. Within a couple of months, hundreds of employees had joined the group. Employees were posting encouraging messages daily on an internal company social media site. There was a demand for local small groups to form, and suddenly over 100 employees had joined studies that met during lunch.

The group provided people with a new sense of community at work and a place where they could find peace and strength in the midst of daily challenges. This change in mindset truly transforms an employee’s perspective on their job, their company and their future. When employees look at each working day as an opportunity to be a servant to their colleagues and show care and compassion for those they work with, the organization can become new. They can find the meaning and fulfillment that has been lacking in their career.

This new perspective on work and community of supportive colleagues directly affected the engagement level of employees, led to more company loyalty, and improved the overall wellbeing of the workforce. And it all started when we recognized that employees could bring their faith to work. We created an atmosphere where faith was no longer a taboo subject but was embraced as an important aspect of our employees’ identities. Just like being a woman is an important part of my identity, my faith is equally, if not more, important to who I am. If companies do not recognize this fact, they will fail to fully engage a large segment of their workforce and will lose those employees who are looking for meaning and purpose in their work. Embracing faith as the next aspect of a diverse and inclusive culture is the key to unlocking immense employee potential and loyalty.

Julia Oltmanns

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