With whistleblowers and watchdog groups now holding businesses accountable more than in previous decades, business owners must be sure to treat certain subjects with increasing levels of caution and respect. Among these, religion is one of the most important.
Entrepreneurs should not feel unable to incorporate faith-based practices into their work if so desired; however, research shows that ethical concerns and differing beliefs among employees may sometimes hinder such efforts. Those wishing to implement their beliefs into their work must therefore do so while maintaining the utmost attention and respect for interfaith workers.
Christian Business Incubator reviews that this practice is unlikely to prove as difficult as some entrepreneurs might expect. They simply need to start by fully comprehending the problem and approaching it with a well-prepared solution.
Obstacles to Incorporating Business and Religion
On the surface, incorporating religion into the workplace should sound easy enough. An estimated 80% of the global workforce claims to follow some sort of religious practice, and all but 2% of these fall into one of the four most well-known belief systems:
- Christianity – 32%
- Islam – 23%
- Hinduism – 16%
- Buddhism – 7%
The hesitance among some researchers to incorporate religion and entrepreneurship therefore stems not from the prevalence of religion in terms of quantity, but rather in terms of quality. In short, many believe that people currently value their religious identities less than they used to. This means that while many workers of different faiths may theoretically be able to respect faith-based practices, they simply have less interest in them.
Furthermore, those who feel that work and religion should remain separate are often quite passionate about it. Employees who feel more sensitive to the subject may not like knowing that their employer is incorporating theological beliefs into their work approach, particularly if the source of those beliefs differs from their own religious identity. This could create significant problems for entrepreneurs who incorporate their beliefs too openly.
Benefits of Faith-Based Entrepreneurial Practice
Especially when first starting out, the beliefs and actions of any entrepreneur are necessarily inseparable from the direction of their business. This means that complete separation of their faith from their professionalism is borderline impossible. Fortunately, this fact actually provides solutions to the aforementioned obstacles.
While it may seem inhibiting for entrepreneurs to keep the religious nature of their ethical beliefs quiet (while the need to do so will vary from one workplace to another), understanding the impact of theology on their business ethics can teach them how to better run their company. In fact, some researchers believe this knowledge will further help in the development of products and services that complement their consumers’ beliefs as well.
In the same way entrepreneurs can apply this value-based approach with their consumers, they can apply it with their employees and stakeholders as well. Knowing the manner in which one employee’s values differ from those of another can greatly inform employers on how to change their leadership style and effectively accommodate each individual.
Ironically, those with more business acumen will recognize the above as just another form of most common advice on leadership and consumer relations. In other words, for as sensitive a topic as it’s often considered to be, the incorporation of faith in business does not actually prove much different from any other obstacle found in entrepreneurship. It merely falls on each individual leader to handle it with the tact and grace that it deserves.