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 Christian 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 Bible scriptures daily on an internal company social media site. There was a demand for local Bible study 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 God’s peace and strength in the midst of daily challenges. It also introduced employees to the idea that God has a purpose for work and that, as Colossians says, “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.” Colossians 3:23. This change in mindset truly transforms an employee’s perspective on their job, their company and their future. When we look at each working day as an opportunity to glorify Him, rather than ourselves, we develop a humble character of service. When we open our eyes to search for the purpose God has for our career, we develop wisdom and discernment. When we commit to obediently do the will of God in our jobs, we find the meaning and fulfillment that has been lacking.
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 Christian 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.