Accommodating and Appreciating Religion in the Workplace: How does this Affect Human Resource Strategic Planning?
In rejoinder to the various legislations mentioned earlier in regards to diversity in religion in the workplace, it is imperative that HR personnel in conjunction with all employers get to comprehend the religious composition of their employees. In this way, they strive to gain insight into the various doctrines and eventually get to appreciate the religious requirements of the religions. This is important in equipping the HR personnel with information that comes in handy when formulating strategies and policies that affect their employees and they may analyze and amend any of the practices and policies that bend towards discriminating against or negatively affecting their staff. Most of the religious discrimination issues at the workplace stem from inadequate or total lack of knowledge about other religious groups’ beliefs and practices. Today’s cosmopolitan kind of societies requires that all persons be in the know of the differences between Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, Hindus, Bahais, and Rastafarians among others. In an organizational setting, such information or knowledge should begin at the top HR personnel and management and thereafter trickle down to other employees. Diversity at the places of work affects the development of interpersonal relationships because it determines how managers and supervisors relate with their staff, and how employees interact with each other. Human resource functions being recruiting, training, and record-keeping are affected by diversity, which tends to augment the responsibilities of the department by holding it accountable for all functions that are mandated by law.
In order to administer workplace diversity successfully, an HR Manager is obligated to swing from an ethnocentric view (“our way is the best way”) to a culturally relative perspective (“let’s take the best of a variety of ways”). This philosophical change must be ingrained in the framework of the HR Manager in the performance of their various functions including planning, organizing, leading, and controlling of the resources of the organization.
The process of recruiting employees is a rather crucial one for any organization because employees form the backbone of the company by ensuring that day-to-day activities are performed, and performed in the right manner. For this reason, it is imperative that qualified persons are recruited for the right job openings. An organization that accommodates and appreciates diversity in religion may amend its recruitment strategy to be an all-inclusive procedure because = diversity helps to create a competitive advantage for the organization. This is a result of spiritual and religious diversity playing a constructive role in the workplace, with the diversity helping the organization to build high-performing collaborative teams. As concluded in the SHRM 2007 State of Workplace Diversity Management Survey Report, augmenting the capability of employees from diverse backgrounds to function together effectively was reported as imperative pushers of effective diversity management. For this reason, HR strategies in the hospitality industry are likely to begin implementing the strategy of an all-inclusive recruitment process.
Training is also one of the functions performed by the Human Resource departments of all organizations. Training is done to equip employees with the necessary and updated skills and tools that are crucial to the effective performance of their duties. Traditionally, the training is done in accordance with the job description of the individual, whereby additional or existing ways of performing the job are addressed. However, with the accommodation and appreciation of religion in places of employment, the Human Resource personnel shall be required to include religious studies in the training program. All employers shall have to undergo the training, or in this case, an awareness campaign whereby they will be taken through a step-by-step analysis of the beliefs, practices, and detailed makeup of the various religions’ doctrines. This will be aimed at creating sensitivity and understanding amongst persons of different religions, whereby they will be in a position to understand and respect the beliefs of other colleagues thus enhancing cohesion.
Currently, globalization is causing organizations to spread their operations in all corners of the globe with the aim of profit maximization. In many instances, companies that do not have employee diversity experience hardships when making such expansions, especially in some areas that demand various perspectives input. HR expertise plays a major role in assigning different candidates roles based on their strengths to get maximum output. For instance, an American company that needs to put up operations in a Muslim-dominated society may just deploy some of its existing employees to the new branch as opposed to hiring new employees for the new branch.
Another aspect of workforce management touches on the arrangement of staff in working stations. According to some doctrines for instance Muslims, free male-female interactions are not allowed, especially when the two are left alone. For this reason, it would be rather uncomfortable for the parties when a young Muslim woman or man is left alone to work with a colleague of the opposite sex. This tends to bring an awkward situation that may be detrimental to the organization, and therefore HR should formulate strategies to avoid this from happening. Another scenario involves the Hindu religion whose caste system ranks people according to occupation, being Brahimi’s (priests), Kshatriyas (warrior/ruling class), Vaishyas (merchants/artisans), and Shudras (laborers/servants). There are also the outcasts or ‘untouchables’, who are well-thought-out too modest for insertion. An organization may encounter problems where a member of a lower caste is left to manage a member of a higher caste. HR personnel, therefore, need to put such issues in perspective when dealing with placements.
When all is said and done, religion is key to the existence of the human race and its importance to society cannot be overemphasized. This level of importance is equal to the level of importance that is placed on the means used by human beings to earn a livelihood, as they need to earn a living to provide for their daily needs and those of their families. For this reason, the two have to go hand in hand, with the major requirement being the need for human beings to coexist peacefully. The Civil Rights Act prohibits religious discrimination in places of work but this is different in the hospitality industry because the nature of the operation is different.
The report has brought out numerous advantages of accommodating and appreciating religion in the workplace, and one of the major benefits is the creation of a competitive edge due to the high-performing collaborative teams. Lack of accommodation creates discrimination. Issues of discrimination give rise to increased lawsuits and claims, with such discrimination-related lawsuits and claims directly increasing an organization’s costs. Reduced confidence in the organization due to such discrimination could lower employee retention rates as the employee’s search for other places of work that are more accommodating. Loss of confidence and trust with the organization could go further to negatively affect the productivity of employees, leading to low ratings for the facility and this means lost business opportunity and revenue due to lost customers/ guests. The shareholders would be the ultimate losers with reduced or non-existent returns on investment and reduced shareholder wealth. One of the more recent tasks of a human resource requires that management realizes the changing faces in the workforce of the hospitality industry and recognizes it as a newly multicultural one. On a more crucial matter, firms will reap any benefits from diversity if they do not have a related policy with respect to equal opportunities and are devoted to diminishing discrimination. Programs of action to add to broad-spectrum consciousness of cultural variety should be formed to support the company policy.
Diversity in religion, handled with the importance it deserves could create big opportunities for a firm. This is because workers who follow religion would hardly take any adverse actions that could hurt the organization, and this is mainly due to the connection of ethics and religion discussed earlier. The only way in which religious diversity can be utilized to maximum productivity is through diversity training. Diversity training aim at constructing respect and raising understanding for all of the distinctions among employees and customers. In sequence to build up a diverse workforce, it is vital to diminish cultural ethnocentrism and narrow view in employees. Multicultural training will play a key role to increase the awareness of cultural diversity in employees and build up a culturally enriched environment in a company.