Updated: Sep 30
Five Elements of a Faith Based Business
Running a business is both rewarding and challenging. If you are a person of faith, you bring your entire self to the office. That includes your values and your worldview.
And why not?
Faith is meaningless if it’s only relied upon in religious circles. Our faith comes alive when we exercise it as a part of our everyday lives. Given the large amount of time we spend at work or in our businesses, it’s important to know the elements of a faith-based business.
People may have differing opinions about the meaning of faith based. Applied to a business environment, where there are people of multiple faiths, or none at all, it may appear controversial.
It doesn’t have to be.
You can think of the term “faith based” as applying to any business, in any industry, where the owner’s decision-making is informed by their faith. It’s no more complicated than that.
For example, your dentist’s office can be faith based if he or she operates the dental practice using tenets of his or her faith.
I recently saw a doctor about undertaking an outpatient medical procedure. Not only was my doctor a skilled practitioner from a top medical school. He was also a man of faith. This came up naturally in our conversation about my procedure. Before we left his office, we prayed together with my husband about my surgical options.
He didn’t advertise that he is “faith based,” but this doctor operates his medical practice from a worldview and belief system that values prayer–a huge tenet of his faith.
You can do the same.
Contrary to some uninformed opinions, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with exercising your faith in a work or business environment. For me, it’s been the cornerstone of how I’ve run all of my businesses, and of how I coach and counsel my clients. The key is in how you do it.
Follow the five guidelines below to create a work environment where it is safe for anyone to practice their faith if they choose to.
1. You Must Respect All Faiths And Those Who Do Not Practice One. This is crucial to your success. Being faith based is not about lauding any belief system over others or about excluding people. In my businesses, I’ve worked with Christians, Jews, Muslims, other religions, or people with none. We created a culture where we learned about each other’s faiths in a consensual environment. There was a set time and place set for those conversations, and people who did not care to participate were not required to.
2. Set Clear Policies and Boundaries. You’ve heard it said that business is business. Whether you are faith based or not, your business policies and procedures should clearly communicate your culture. Write down your policies and be transparent with your team. For example, if you would like to establish a Bible study or prayer meeting at your office, be sure to advise everyone of the time and details and make it consensual. You are on solid ground if attendance is not mandatory.
I recommend offering an inter-faith option as well. In my experience this is a great opportunity to learn about other faiths. If you have any questions about this, be sure to seek counsel from a lawyer or HR expert.
3. Celebrate Religious Holidays Of All Faiths. Do not show favoritism by honoring some religious holidays and not others. Certain religious holidays like Christmas are national holidays. But consider granting your employees or team members the benefit of celebrating their most revered religious holidays. In my businesses, we are always closed on Christian religious holidays, including Good Friday, but everyone receives a paid day off. I also honor others’ holy days as well. Giving time off can be squirrely, but it’s a tremendous morale booster if applied fairly and evenly.
4. Celebrate And Support Charitable Causes. If nothing else, our faith should govern how we show up in the world. Allowing your team members to support causes they care about is not only a good thing to do, but also good for business and employee retention. Several studies have shown that companies that encourage giving, and community building outperform their competitors financially as well. Amazing how that works!
5. Your Internal Policies Should Reflect Your Values. It is one thing to show support for outside causes, but how do you treat your own employees, clients, and vendors? Ideally, your faith should mold your internal policies and procedures. Faith is not about lofty pronouncements. It must be demonstrated in the level of respect and care we give to our stakeholders. All of this must be reflected in our company culture. Charity begins at home.
How are you reflecting your faith at work or in your business? I’d love to hear from you!
Email me if you want to talk about how you can create a faith-based environment in your organization. (email@example.com)