Intel tops new list of faith-friendly workplaces

Corporate America is making room for religious diversity at the office, and it’s good for business, one advocate says.
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DE&I efforts have been atop corporate America’s to-do list in recent years, and faith is becoming part of that push. While many companies have programs to support women, people of color, and LBGTQ+ employees, some are investing in ways to make the workplace feel faith-friendly.

Intel topped the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation’s 2023 Corporate Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (REDI) Index, an annual analysis of faith-friendly corporate workplaces.

American Airlines, Equinix, PayPal, and Salesforce rounded out the list’s top five companies according to a benchmarking tool that awarded businesses for sponsoring faith-based ERGs and providing chaplains or spiritual care, among other benchmarks.

There’s a strong business case for promoting religious diversity in the workplace, according to Brian Grim, founder and president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation. Companies already know a diversity of viewpoints is good for business and innovation, but Grim said that companies that also focus on religious identities can reap additional benefits.

“If you’re not accommodating in the workplace, and you’re not making your workplace an area where people can not just bring their whole selves to work, but bring their whole soul to work…you might then have biases that go unchecked,” Grim said.

Intel offers seven faith-based ERGs with more than 8,250 members worldwide, according to the company’s spokesperson Patricia Oliverio. The company also supports its ERG leaders connecting to build connections and programming.

“Intel has had faith-based Employee Resource Groups since the late 1990s and continues to be strongly committed to diversity and workforce inclusion,” Oliverio told HR Brew in an email. “Diversity and inclusion are instrumental in driving innovation and delivering strong business growth.”

Conventional wisdom tells us to keep religion and politics out of work, but Grim said an  awareness of faiths and religious practices need to be on HR’s radar, especially regarding food, dress, and religious holidays. Grim said curiosity and “an accommodation mindset”  should lead HR’s efforts.

Think about and develop HR policies that are broad enough to accommodate religion, but fair in how the policy is applied, Grim said.

“By saying, ‘We don’t do religion,’ that becomes discrimination,” he said. “Because then for people who are following their faith and can’t do certain things or they have certain practices that they follow, and that rubs up against it, then you automatically exclude them.”

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