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Managing Workplace Spirituality

Deploying workplace spirituality is a complex and cumbersome undertaking. The concept of workplace spirituality has to be defined. Even after the definition is agreed upon by both leadership and associates, legal and policy makers have to collaborate on developing procedures and programs to fit the needs of both the organization and employees (Pawar, 2009). Integrating spirituality into the workplace is not quickly accomplished over the course of a business quarter. Instead, as a paradigm shift, it takes time and must be addressed at all levels of the organization.

To effectively manage workplace spirituality and attain its benefits, all three facets of spirituality (i.e. beliefs, rituals, and community) should be utilized in a clear, coordinated, comprehensive, and continuous manner (Bandsuch & Cavanagh, 2005). Beliefs, rituals, and community are central interrelated aspects of workplace spirituality and thus need to be managed in a manner that allows for the spiritual development of the individuals and the organization. Some organizations adequately emphasize one dimension of spirituality, such as the beliefs in the mission statement, but then neglect to support the beliefs with the rituals and community necessary for effective and enduring workplace spirituality (Bandsuch & Cavanagh, 2005). Therefore, it is paramount to combine all three elements in a clear and coordinated fashion.

In terms of clarity, workplace spirituality must be articulated in distinct terms such that its dimensions and dynamics can be understood by the majority of the community. The workplace community should be able to identify and understand the fundamental beliefs, their corroborating rituals, and their resultant community.

Workplace spirituality needs to be coordinated so that all three dimensions are used in a combined, reinforced, and integrated way. Rituals should be clearly based on beliefs and experiences within the working community such that the community shares in ritual activities that are organized around fundamental beliefs. In this coordinated effort, workplace spirituality has its maximum potential and power to develop a shared, meaningful, and enduring experience of workplace spirituality (Bandsuch & Cavanagh, 2005).

Workplace spirituality must also be comprehensive with both depth (i.e. importance and meaning) and breadth (i.e. variety and abundance) in its implementation of each dimension.

Finally, workplace spirituality must be continuous. In other words, workplace spirituality needs to be nurtured over a long period of time. In this way, the longevity of time allows for workplace spirituality to be evaluated, adapted, renewed, and changed if necessary. Thus, the continuity enables spiritual patterns to be developed. The patterns provide a breadth and depth to workplace spirituality that can only be attained over time.

In summary, the clear, coordinated, comprehensive, and continuous assimilation of beliefs, rituals, and community promotes and sustains workplace spirituality. This action creates benefits for both individuals and organization. The key to workplace spirituality’s effectiveness resides in the collaboration that results from coordinating the three dimensions in a clear, comprehensive, and continuous approach that involves the human person on all his or her levels (Bandsuch & Cavanagh, 2005).

Workplace Spirituality Sustainability

Once the deployment and management of workplace spirituality are going well for an organization, the next challenge is how the organization can keep this momentum going and sustain it over time. As indicated by Pawar (2009), both employees and leadership alike will need to evaluate the current set of principles and policies on a regular basis for many reasons. The first reason pertains to the current program. Are the current policies a good fit for both employees and the organization? What works and what does not work? For the policies that are not working, is there a way leadership and employees can work together and come up with a viable solution? For those policies that are working, is there a way both leadership and employees can collaborate and make them better? Next, is the program being implemented as it is designed to? Planning and formulation of policies can only work if it is executed in the right way. Therefore, the implementation and execution phase will need to be evaluated. Finally, is the workplace spirituality program being endorsed and adopted by both leadership and employees? Pawar (2009) stated that for a program to work, stakeholders need to adopt and subscribe to the program. Planning, formulation, implementation, and adoption of the program are made stronger and have an increased probability of success when there are endorsements by the stakeholders involved. Ultimately, this strong engagement will lead to program sustainability.

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