In multi-faith contemporary Australia, customers, clients and employees are increasingly expecting products, services, and workplaces to be inclusive of faith-related perspectives.
Globalisation means clients and target audiences come from diverse cultures and practice different faiths. In some countries around the world over 90% of the population identify as religious.1 This has resulted in Australian companies developing markets and establishing trading relationships in new communities and regions of the world where business practices may be influenced in part by religious tenets. Organisations that are not responsive, respectful or inclusive of these differences may unknowingly cause offense and risk failure to fully capitalise on business opportunities.
Employees too are expecting faith sensitivity and responsiveness as they seek a more holistic approach to their time at work, becoming less willing to disconnect their work and personal identities. This has resulted in an increase in the number of employees seeking to express their religious and spiritual identity in the workplace. Organisations who take a proactive approach to multi-faith inclusion by supporting the faith-expression of their employees and recognising the faith-based capabilities of their workforce are open to a number of benefits.
From Legal Accommodation to Inclusion
We want to elevate the conversations that we have each day so they respect and include all.
INCLUSION is a higher aspiration than simply meeting the legal requirements to accommodate people of faith (or no faith) at work.
Inclusion in a workplace is achieved when a diversity of people (e.g. ages, cultural backgrounds, genders, perspectives) feel that they are:
- RESPECTED for who they are and able to be themselves;
- CONNECTED to their colleagues and feel they belong;
- CONTRIBUTING their perspectives and talents to the workplace; and
- PROGRESSING in their career at work (i.e. have equal access to opportunities and resources).
Creating Inclusive Multi-faith Workplaces
Creating Inclusive Multi-faith Workplaces is a new resource for DCA members to help workplaces move away from simply ‘accommodating’ the needs of their multi-faith employees, towards making workplaces inclusive for everyone in Australia’s increasingly religiously diverse workplaces.
The resource is designed to provide guidance to Australian workplaces about how to deal with a range of common faith-related queries, and also to provide workplaces with principles to help balance issues where conflicting rights might intersect.
- 1. R. Noack, ‘These are the World’s Least Religious Countries’, The Washington Post, 14 April 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/04/14/map-these-are-the-worlds-leastreligious-countries/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a6c3c02220da.