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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?

Pistil Pistil 7 years
Weird, unless you're working for a religious organization/company, obviously. I mean, I guess it might be similar to having a sort of counselor available to your employees, but if spirituality is the issue isn't that what your church is for?
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I work at a Catholic hospital and faith is a big part of the mission statement at work. No one forces you to be religious, but to be an employee, you have to sign a contract saying you agree that you are indeed working for a religious organization and you have to abide by the hospital policies regarding faith. So yeah, we have a hospital priest who's there for anyone who needs to talk. He also does the last rites for patients that request them, I think.
amber512 amber512 7 years
I have to disagree, only because I think it depends on where you work. I work at my church, therefore it would be quite silly to say there was no place for faith in my workplace! I also interviewed once at a real estate office that was family and Christian-owned and faith was a big thing there as well.
tarabara1229 tarabara1229 7 years
I agree with skigurl- really inappropriate and unnecessary. I would feel uncomfortable having any type of religious presence at work. I'm sorry, but if you have personal problems and need to talk to a chaplain, I believe you should deal with them on your own time, not the company's.
skigurl skigurl 7 years
No deal. There's no place for faith in the workplace, in my opinion. You must be non-partisan, therefore nondenominational, and even if it was a nondenominational spirituality that the chaplain was promoting, I still don't see the need for it. I used to work with a woman who had a jar for donations for some pro-life organization on her desk. I once asked what it was (as I couldn't see the sign clearly) and she said "it has to do with my church. i don't push it on anybody" but yet it was sitting there next to the basket of chocolate bars she brought to share with the office. Finally a boss told her it wasn't allowed - it's totally inapropriate to bring those views to work. I can't believe someone would be so silly to think it was okay.
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