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Spirituality in the workplace: raising HR awareness
Spirituality has made its mark in the global business world. For a long time the spiritual component has been ignored by organisations, possibly out of fear that the workplace will be turned into a religious war-zone. However, the time has arrived for organisations to start engaging their employees spiritually, and give attention to the concept of bringing the whole person to work. In most workplaces today the environment is fertile with elements of materialism, competition, distrust, insecurity, suspicion, corruption and dishonesty. These elements normally manifest in the behaviour of individuals which create a misalignment to the organisations’ values. The value system of an organisation is an important tool for steering the actions of employees in the direction of its mission and purpose. It is crucial however, for organisations to firstly understand the personal or spiritual values of its employees and then attempt to align those values with the organisations’ values. This research established a link between the personal values of employees and the company values however, the value of Integrity was misaligned. Organisations should note that spiritual employees are concerned with values relating to moral or ethical conduct such as Integrity, Honesty, Respect, Equality, Empathy, Trust and Openness. If the moral or ethical values of spiritual employees are perceived to be dishonoured in the workplace, it may cause a negative effect on the organisation as a whole if one considers that employees spend most of their time at work. Spiritual employees will strive to integrate their spiritual beliefs and values in their daily activities at work as it is fundamental to their being. Such employees regard their spiritual beliefs and values as their moral compass which guides factors such as their decision making, attitude at work and overall their mission and purpose in life. Leaders should set an example in living the organisations’ values by acting with integrity, honesty, respect and trust. When this alignment in the leaders conduct is perceived by employees, it builds employees’ confidence and trust in the leadership and organisation as a whole. Organisations today may need to consider taking an inside-out approach to changing employees’ behaviour addressing it at the core, which is the spirit. Integrating spirituality in the workplace must be done with authenticity. The true intent of spirituality is having employees functioning as whole persons in the workplace.