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Spirituality at work

CHRISTINA WOCINTECHCHAT-UNSPLASH

The advent of social media has increased people’s desire to experience spirituality in their personal and professional lives. The public disclosure of mass layoffs, such as those at Meta, Twitter, and Amazon, has created uncertainty and stress.

People are becoming increasingly concerned about losing their jobs due to massive corporate downsizing and relocation offshore, which is occurring at an alarming rate. Companies such as Nokia, Wells Fargo, and Honda have decided to pull out their operations in the Philippines.

The message is clear: our jobs are no longer secure. As a result, employees are dispirited and desire to find meaning in work. Fortunately, a paradigm that has been around for a while can address this phenomenon: workplace spirituality.

According to Milliman et al. (2003), spirituality is a shared human quality that manifests as the desire of a person to fully experience life, be present, and feel a part of something larger than ourselves. Petchsawang et al. (2009) define workplace spirituality as having compassion for others, having a mindful inner consciousness while doing meaningful work, and thus enabling transcendence.

Simply put, incorporating spirituality in the workplace is about finding meaning, value, and motivation in one’s work outside of pay and performance. Workplace spirituality is about discovering a sense of oneness and belonging within a larger organization where they can openly express their talent, brilliance, and genius. This paradigm is about creating a space where employees can see their work, not as a means to survive but as a path toward self-actualization.

Non-traditional management techniques and organizational structures are required to deal with this framework of organizational values. Instead of forceful command and rigid control, organization leaders can achieve productivity by: (1) encouraging employees to express themselves; (2) making the workplace an inclusive and diverse environment where employees’ thoughts and ideas are encouraged; (3) educating and training employees in self-leadership and self-awareness skills; and (4) encouraging employees to recognize their worth and value.

Leaders also must learn about their employees individually and motivate them to learn more about one another. These interventions will make them appreciate their leaders’ concern for them, resulting in a better working environment and increased team morale and productivity.

Today is my twelfth anniversary at my current job. I have been wondering what makes me stay. I have deduced, just like the other managers and staff, it is because I am well cared for. My boss considers me and his other direct reports as “family,” and helps us develop as employees and individuals by: (1) allowing us to pursue higher education and other interests; (2) nurturing open communication in which our ideas are heard and respected; (3) guiding us on occupational and even personal concerns; and (4) being sympathetic to our plights.

My boss’ actions demonstrate integrity, goodness, interconnectedness, and compassion, making me value and find meaning in my work. He has enabled me to pursue doctorate studies. He has also financially assisted managers and other employees for illnesses not covered by company benefits. But more crucially, he acts as our collective “father,” advising us on every life decision. When we fail, he consoles us, and when we succeed, he rejoices with us. Imagine a company where everyone feels valued; there would be loyalty, resilience, creativity, and innovation.     

A survey of employees of credit institutions in Indonesia confirmed the positive impact of workplace spirituality on organizational commitment and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). OCB refers to all constructive employee actions that benefit their colleagues and the organization, such as cooperation, volunteerism, and idea sharing. Other research has shown that organizations that embrace values such as collaboration, creativity, and compassion are often more successful in terms of firm performance and innovation than those that don’t. Examples of these are Pixar, Netflix, and Southwest Airlines. 

According to Dubey et al. (2022), workplace spirituality continues to spread worldwide. Organizations are now helping employees realize their full potential and find meaning and fulfillment in their jobs. Ultimately, spiritual employees benefit businesses in ways other than improved performance and productivity. At the very least, they are happier and more content. They make workplaces more enjoyable and help businesses contribute to a better world for everyone.

Erwin R. Lapuz is a doctor of Business Administration candidate at the Ramon V. Del Rosario College of Business of De La Salle University.

erwin_r_lapuz@dlsu.edu.ph

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