There's a call for workplaces in the UK to promote religious inclusivity after a new survey suggests 82 per cent of UK-based Christian employees who wear religious dress or symbols do not do so at work for fear of being silenced.
Research by business-psychology consultancy firm Pearn Kandola states that many Christian employees are subject to “ridicule and hostility from colleagues based on stereotypes”.
Binna Kandola, who's from the firm, told Premier: “If somebody was to say, ‘I am a Christian’… there's a stereotype, there's an image that may well impact the way that people interact with people of that faith. And it then hinders the relationships that people form.
“A lot of organisations talk about the importance of being authentic in the workplace, and there's a lovely expression about bringing your whole self to work.
“Well, actually, if people hold a faith and they hold it very strongly, as you're trying to suppress that in the workplace, it means that you're not being authentic, and you're not bringing your whole self to work”.
The report, entitled Religion at Work: Experiences of Christian Employees, also found 48 per cent of UK-based Christian employees agreed that their organisation could do more to make employees feel comfortable wearing religious dress or symbols.
It cited unclear guidelines and a workplace culture not being religiously inclusive as reasons why employees don’t feel able to express their faith in such a way.
Kandola said: “Without proactive management support in place, diversity and inclusion initiatives can often feel like a superficial ‘tick-box’ exercise.
“Leaders really need to examine their cultures to be able to put actionable next steps in place. A big part of this is recognising that findings like this cannot be looked at in isolation. To create true inclusivity, organisations need to look at everything from race to religion and gender - and, importantly, how these attributes intersect.”
The online survey collected data from 1,042 Christian participants across the UK and US.
Listen to Premier's interview with Kandola here: