Today we had another two-hour weekly meeting regarding our culture and handbook. Trying to determine these specific goals for our company is both a blessing and a curse. The conversations that we have are definitely building our culture and making people feel more connected to this company, which is very good. But, most of the hours we spend discussing our mission, values, purpose, culture, and religion could have all been avoided had I created all of this back when it was just me in my mom’s attic. The fact of the matter is that I didn’t do that because I honestly didn’t know what was possible back then.
This morning I presented everyone with the cover letter that I wrote for our employee handbook, and it brought up a very interesting debate. You can read the entire letter below, but the sentence that sparked this great topic was the following: “Just as Jesus says, ‘From everyone who has been given much, much will be required’ (Luke 12:48).”
In the last several months I have grown tremendously in my leadership style, people skills, and in my faith. I think that two years ago I did not really stand for anything, and I was very shy about stating what I believe in a public setting. I think I was like most of the rest of the world today. There is a lot of fear in the world pertaining to faith and religion in the workplace. The funny thing was that no one employee actually had a problem with the phrase itself. In fact, everyone agreed whole heartedly with that quote. We all acknowledged that it is our duty to go out and use our talents to make the world a better place.
So if we all believe and agree with the quote then what is the problem? I’m still not really sure what the problem is, but I think that the problem is that by referencing Jesus or the Bible we are implying that we are a Christian company. That would be fine too if we were a Christian company. But, is it okay or is it ethical to never publicly say that you are a Christian company, but then subtly do and say Christian things? This is another question I am still wrestling with.
The reason I am so passionate about this topic is because I believe that I have gotten to where I am today because of my faith. I know that our company is where we are because God is actively working in our business. So why would I do anything now except follow him that much more vigorously. But, that comes back to the question of how and when should we disclose that we are Christian in our words vs in our actions.
Assuming that we should not state outwardly that we are Christian and we should only do that internally the next question is what about prayer in the office space?
Is it okay to pray in the work place?
Yes, it is okay to pray in the work place. There is nothing legally wrong with prayer in the work place nor is there any ethical reason that it would be disrespectful or rude to others if you were to pray in the workplace.
How can you develop a culture in which the employees feel comfortable praying in the workplace?
I wish I had a better answer to this one.
Is it forcing employees to pray if you pray at the beginning of meetings?
Is prayer something that people should do on their own time or can you pray together as a company?
Can an employee sue their employer for religious reasons?
The first amendment allows for the freedom of speech, which means that a company and/or a person can virtually say whatever they want to say. Damages to a person are usually hard to quantify until a company does something that discriminates against an employee.
The question that I think is very interesting is what is the best way to be inclusive in the work place when it comes to religion and spirituality. Is the solution for the company to not do anything spiritual? Can a company start off every meeting with a prayer?
To be honest I don’t really know what the answer to all of these questions are. I want to remain very open-minded when it comes to all of this, but I also think that there is a need for more companies to be more comfortable in living out their faith in the workplace. I think that if a company truly is christian in the way that they work they would actually be the most inclusive company in the world.
On behalf of my colleagues and myself, we want to welcome you to SkEye Media, Inc.
We are excited that you have come on board to help us live out our purpose of “telling stories that impact people and cause them to think or live life in a better, more dynamic way.” At SkEye, we believe that it is our responsibility to use all that we have been given to make the world a better place. Just as Jesus says, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required” (Luke 12:48).
SkEye is a unique company that is committed to creative storytelling through digital media. We believe that we exist to inspire the people of the world to live more dynamic and fulfilling lives. It is my hope that, as you become immersed in our culture, you will find a new fire and passion for your work and life that will drive you to pursue your dreams with more fervor than you ever have before.
This handbook was developed to describe the expectations that we have for you. Inside you will find an outline of the policies, programs, and benefits available to eligible employees. Familiarize yourself with the contents of the employee handbook, for it will answer many questions about employment with SkEye. We realize that there are no rules that we could create, nor policies that we could put into motion, that can transcend the six core values that we hold to be pillars of our company. While the contents of this handbook may change over the years, we will always continue to be human at our core.
At the end of the day, we must all remember that we are human and that everyone we interact with is human. Humans are complex beings; we have dreams, passions, emotions, and spiritual longings. We must always conduct ourselves in a manner that encourages the growth of every human.
Our company is only successful if our own people are successful. We hired you because we saw a sparkle of fire inside you, and we think it is important that you know how blessed and honored we are to have you on our team.