‘They bring their heart to their work when it lines up with their world view’
According to initial results of a Faith at Work project, nearly every one of 521 Schlegel Villages team members surveyed finds meaning in their work and believes their efforts contribute to a greater purpose in this world. More could be done, however, to promote values and policies that are important to faith, ethics and personal integrity.
When a person is encouraged to bring their faith, spirituality and world view with them to their job, their beliefs and sense of purpose can be one of the greatest gifts they offer those around them, says Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging (RIA) vice-president Josie d’Avernas.
“They work at their very best and they bring their heart to their work when it lines up with their world view,” Josie says.
“For a people organization like ours, going above and beyond the routines of the day is critically important to really embrace the social side of the work.”
That’s why in 2011, RIA partnered with Princeton University’s Dr. David Miller to investigate the different ways team members at Schlegel Villages integrate faith and spirituality into their work.
The organization was inspired by Miller’s description of a faith-friendly company as one that affirms all faiths and world views, including agnosticism and atheism, and embraces the mind, body and sprit of every person.
Miller’s team of researchers surveyed 521 people in seven villages, with 93 per cent saying their work contributes to greater purpose in the world; 94 per cent finding meaning in their work; 59 per cent believing the organization is supportive of their faith tradition; and 56 per cent stating the organization is accommodating of their spiritual needs.
“We want to share these results with our village chaplains, recreation teams and probably our village advisory teams because these results link to culture change,” Josie says.
“We want to have some dialogue around what they mean and what team members think about what our next steps might be.”
Individual team member work profiles and evaluation tools, perhaps organized through the online internal network, Schlegel Marketplace, could help identify what team members want in terms of meeting their spiritual needs in the workplace.
Josie also suggests the possibility of developing new materials to help use such profiles to suggest best strategies for enhancing work satisfaction based on the way team members express their world view at work.
As with every step the organization takes, collaboration will be central to a greater understanding of how faith and world view dictates the actions of the team.
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