Creating inclusive multi-faith workplaces

Steps to creating multifaith inclusive workplacesCreating 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.

Employees perform worse when they feel they must hide their faith identity to fit in with their organisation’s requirements, while those who feel they do not have to hide their faith are less likely to leave their organisation, according to the report. Preventing discrimination also minimises organisational legal exposure and risk and reduces costs associated with absenteeism, turnover and loss of staff morale and productivity. The guide details how to build inclusiveness into workplace policies, and sets out a framework for situations where staff may have particular religious needs which might conflict with work requirements.

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).

Steps to creating multifaith inclusive workplaces

Balancing competing rights

A common question we receive at DCA is how to handle situations where someone’s religious beliefs, challenge another person’s belief or identity, especially if this has an impact on the needs of the business.

There are no easy answers, but the principle of inclusion – ensuring that all employees are respected, connected, and able to contribute and progress – can help navigate some of these situations.



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