• Saturday, February 04, 2023

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‘We need to foster religious inclusivity all year round’

Book spines listing major world religions – Judaism, Islam, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Protestantism.

By: Binna Kandola

World Religion Day shines an important light on the topic of religious equality, encouraging peace and understanding between different religious groups. However, we still have much more to do to ensure open and empathetic discussion around religion happens all year round.

This is especially apparent in the workplace, with our recent ‘Religion at work’ research revealing that many people do not feel able to express their faith openly at work.

A third of UK-based Hindu employees, for example, said they do not feel comfortable discussing religious festivals at work.

Binna Kandola

Meanwhile, almost half of Christian employees believe their organisation could do more to make employees feel comfortable wearing religious symbols. One Christian employee mentioned that ‘the vast majority of the staff have ridiculed religion so publicly and so viciously’ in their workplace.

While religion is one of the protected characteristics in the UK’s Equality Act, it receives relatively little attention. We need to be more aware of the ways we may be making some people feel, especially when it comes to expressing a significant part of their identity at work.

Successful, long-term change will be dependent on organisations building inclusive cultures, where valuing differences and supporting everyone, no matter their belief, is the norm. Leaders need to take accountability, foster inclusive behaviours, and set an example when it comes to challenging stereotypical attitudes.

The issues discussed won’t disappear once World Religion Day has passed, and leaders need to ensure that supportive, constructive and empathetic conversations are happening all year round.

Binna Kandola is business psychologist, senior partner and co-founder of Pearn Kandola

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