Creating a faith friendly workplace
Good employers know that in companies where employees feel like they can bring their whole self to work, performance and engagement are higher. Managers who work to foster inclusion realise that in many cases this includes religion and belief. While this won’t be the case for everyone or for every region, particularly if there is a political or historical separation of church and state, for many employees religion is part of everyday inclusion.
At Enterprise, we have a religion diversity strand, led by Brendan Grieve, Brendan Keane, Nigel Goodall, Chris Neal and Jill Boone. Here are some ways that we are building a more faith friendly workplace at Enterprise.
Brendan Grieve, AVP Daily Rental UK99, works very closely with the race and ethnicity strand to ensure we share good practice within our business. Grieve explained one action the group took to be more faith friendly: “In 2017, the date of the rental meeting was arranged to start after rather than during Ramadan. We had flexibility with accommodation and scheduling so we took the opportunity to avoid any potential conflicts with Ramadan.”
Donna Miller, HR director for Europe said, “I’ve found that many people are happy to talk about their religion – as long as the question is asked in a genuine way.”
I’ve found that many people are happy to talk about their religion – as long as the question is asked in a genuine way.
Ash Ahmad, HR generalist in U1, advises, “Make sure as a manager you show interest in your employees’ religion as it makes them more comfortable to have an open conversation about things you may not necessarily understand. They may be more than happy to explain because you’ve made it comfortable for them.”
Here are some more ideas for a faith friendly workplace:
- If an employee asks for time off for religious reasons, do your research. Your local diversity teams and HR are good resources.
- If an employee asks if they can pray during working hours be supportive and ensure there is a suitable place for them to pray.
- Dietary requirements are important. When ordering lunch for the branch, know what your employees can and cannot eat as in some religions it’s forbidden to eat certain types of meat or meat altogether.
- When arranging a night out, ensure you choose an environment comfortable for all employees. For example, don’t always choose a pub as not all employees may drink alcohol due to religious reasons.
- Learn about religions other than your own so employees feel supported.
Kully Manku, accounting supervisor in U3, said, “Senior management fasted with Muslim employees so we could see how they are physically and mentally feeling throughout their working day during Ramadan. I myself did it for three days, which was really tough, but gave me a real insight of the headaches and the test of patience (which for me started wearing very thin) that my team were experiencing throughout their holy month. Being Sikh, my family holds ceremonies at the Sikh Temple so I have included my Enterprise family in these celebrations which has brought them insight into my faith. This also shows my family and community how supportive Enterprise is of all employees.”