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Religion and Faith in the Workplace

I'm Asking: What's Your Take on Faith at the Office?

Apparently, a worker that prays is one that stays with the company. That seems to be the philosophy behind the growing number of companies offering the services of chaplains in the workplace. Managers who've implemented the chaplain program, including the Executives at Tyson Foods Inc., which employs 120 chaplains serving a work force of about 100,000, believe the service can "reduce turnover" and provide an outlet for employees who wouldn't otherwise call a therapist or an employee-assistance program, but who willingly turn to chaplains at their companies.

The services of chaplains aren't relegated to the office alone, either. These spiritual advisers who typically mingle among workers during breaks are also on call 24/7, available for home and hospital visits free of charge, and are on call to perform weddings or funerals for people who have no one else to do so. While voluntary expression of your religious beliefs certainly isn't illegal, many corporate executives, particularly in the Bible Belt, where programs like this first started, provide chaplains because they see faith as an "important resource for employees at work." But another aspect of spirituality in the workplace to consider is that about "15 percent of employers have set aside space for prayer or religious practices in the workplace, and nine percent allow religious groups to meet on site, says a 2008 survey of 543 employers by the Society for Human Resource Management." That said, chaplains say they don't preach any specific set of religious beliefs; instead, they simply offer emotional support and a place to calm down unless the employee directs the conversation to a particular faith.

Read more and weigh in after the jump.

This reflects a growing openness about spirituality amongst Americans in the workplace, where an estimated 74 percent say faith is becoming more important in their lives, but it doesn't necessarily correlate directly with any organized religion. Still, I'm curious, even if chaplains encourage a nondenominational spirituality, how do you feel about a religious presence in the office? Would you feel comfortable talking to a company chaplain?


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