Spirituality and Humanistic work practices

Spiritual organizations recognize the worth and value of people. They aren’t just providing jobs. They try to create cultures in which employees can continually learn and grow. The Men’s Wear-house, as an illustration, believes its success lies in unlocking the untapped human potential in its people. To achieve this, for instance, the company’s training goes well beyond teaching employees how to sell or the specifics of men’s clothing. It also includes sessions on how to be a better person and more available and accessible for ones’ friends, family, and colleagues.

Trust and Respect: Spiritual organizations are characterized by mutual trust, honesty, and openness. Managers aren’t afraid to admit mistakes. They treat people with dignity and respect and create work environments free of fear and abuse. And they tend to be extremely up front with their employees, customers and suppliers. The president of Wetherrill Associates a highly successful auto parts distribution firm declares their mission as they don’t tell lies in their business activities and every dealer and customer also acknowledges the same. The organization believes in to be specific and honest about quality and suitability of the product for customers’ needs. They apply this even knowing they might not able to detect any problem.

The high trust climate in spiritual organizations, when combined with the desire to promote employee learning and growth, leads to management implementing a wide range of humanistic work practices. These include flexible work schedules, group and organization based rewards, narrowing of pay and status differentials, guarantees of individual worker rights, employee empowerment and job security.

For instance, managers in spirituality based organizations are comfortable delegating authority to individual employees and teams. They trust their employees to make thoughtful and conscientious decisions. As a case in point, Southwest Airline employees – including flight attendants, customer service representatives, and baggage handlers are encouraged to take whatever action they deem necessary to meet customer needs or help fellow workers, even if it means breaking company policies.

Recognizing the importance of people, spiritual organizations also try to provide employment security. Hewlett-Packard, for instance, has gone to extremes to try to minimize the effect of economic downturns on its staff. The company has handled temporary downturns through voluntary attrition and shortened workweeks (shared by all); and longer term declines through early retirements and buyouts.

Toleration of Employee expression: The final characteristic that differentiates spiritually based organizations is that they don’t stifle employee emotions. They allow people to be themselves to express their moods and feelings without guilt or fear of reprimand. Employees at Southwest Air, for instance, are encouraged to express their sense of humor on the job to act spontaneously and to make their work fun.