How Spirituality fosters Sustainability in the Workplace

There is growing attention by both practitioners and academics about organizational sustainability. The term “sustainability” is most often associated with longevity, maintenance of core principles or purposes, and responsibility to external needs. Sustainability is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

The definitive goal of sustainable development is securing a better quality of life for all by pursuing responsible economic profitability, equitable social progress, and successful ecological protection and by achieving the right balance between them. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without organizations and individuals. Human resources as one of the main dimensions of the “triple bottom line” of firms are an important challenge for implementing organizational sustainability.

Human resources management needs to deepen its focus on a sustainable approach to address humans facing increasing environmental disasters, rising economic disproportion, and employees facing increasing anxiety, burnout, or employment insecurity. HR practices should respect human rights through the prevention and elimination of harassment, exploitation, and abuse of any person. According to this, HR practices should support the integration of social, environmental, and economic goals for the organization.

This is possible by increasing the awareness of employees about that and developing positive attitudes toward sustainability and by developing an organizational culture that embraces the sustainability paradigm. Thus, human resource management is facing the challenge of creating a positive workplace environment.

Organizations need to find new, sustainable practices to human resources management to support engagement every employee in organizational sustainability, which is essential for a collective approach toward achieving organizational sustainability.

One of the crucial roles of human resources management is raising leaders’ awareness of sustainability. Integrating sustainability with organizational systems, processes, and structures is an important task for each leader.

One of the crucial roles of human resources management is raising leaders’ awareness of sustainability. Integrating sustainability with organizational systems, processes, and structures is an important task for each leader.

Dissemination of an organizational vision that includes sustainability values should be one of the main responsibilities of leaders. Leaders adopting sustainability practices need to develop a wider mindset about stakeholders of the organizations and a different mindset as to the goals of organizations.

Sustainability is expressed by the demonstration of appropriate organizational behaviour. Thus, a sustainable organization needs sustainable human resources. Sustainability into an organization requires changes in the thinking and behavior of all employees. One such way is creating a sustainable workplace.

A sustainable workplace should be created by employment practices, procedures, and policies that link employees’ work-life balance and well-being, enabling them to thrive in their personal and family lives and perform well. However, a sustainable workplace has the potential to affect not only employees’ well-being but also an organization’s success.

The sustainable workplace can be considered as “an environment in which people have an impact on decisions and actions that affect their jobs”. In this article, a “sustainable workplace” is understood as a positive workplace that has a contribution to improved work-life balance, employees’ well-being, involvement in ethical and social decision-making, and develops awareness of being a part of the whole (community and the world);the awareness of the connection with larger whole causes that employees are innately involved in taking care of other people, an organization, or an environment. Only in this way can employees take on social and ethical responsibility.

Implementing sustainability in organisations –

One such way of creating a sustainable workplace may be the introduction of workplace spirituality. There is an inter link between spirituality and sustainability. It is believed that only an individual life rooted in continuous harmony with nature and based on spiritual awareness can pay attention to other people, future generations, and sustainable issues; or it is not possible for the organizations to become more sustainability without considering spirituality.

The significance of spirituality in the context of the workplace is a relatively new topic in management research. The previous studies indicated the need for employees’ experience of spirituality at work.

Spirituality in the workplace has been defined as a “framework of organizational values evidenced in employees’ experience of transcendence through the work process, facilitating their sense of feeling of completeness and joy”.

The workplace is a key root of sustainability. Work is such an integral part of our lives that it is important to engage the whole person in the workplace. However, changing environment, technology, and a highly diversified workplace has resulted in an increase in spirituality needs at the personal and organisational level.

Some research has been dimensionalized components that are thought to make the workplace a more “spiritual” place. According to these studies, a spiritual workplace is commonly characterized by three dimensions: inner life, meaningful work, and community. Inner life is related to a person’s self-concept, which can be expressed through work.

Meaningful work means a deep sense of meaning in an individual’s work. Today, recognition of the meaning and psychological aspects of work is very important to create a sustainable workplace.

A spiritual workplace provides a strong sense of alignment between the individual’s personal values and the organization’s mission and purpose. Community refers to the relationship of individuals with their co-workers. This dimension is based on the belief that people are connected to each other. This can motivate employees to work with integrity and purpose that is beneficial to others beyond simply doing a business.

Spirituality at the workplace elaborates about the one’s life purpose, quality of relationships with other people associated with the workplace, harmony with one’s personal beliefs, and the values of the work organization. When employees have an inner life that nourishes and is nourished by meaningful work that takes place in the context of community, then the workplace can be considered as a sustainable place, characterized by a feeling of the meaning of work, a sense of interconnection with others, and mutually aligned individual and organizational values.

Spirituality enables people to feel alive, energized, be passionate, and care for work and people in the workplace. Workplace spirituality is the employee-friendly work environment that supports an employee’s activities. Many scholars have argued that spirituality is necessary in the sustainable workplace for the ethical attitudes of employees, life and job satisfaction and commitment, employee productivity and organizational performance, and sustainability.

Organizations should place their attention beyond economic contributions. They should promote meaningful life experiences for their employees and society. A transition to sustainable development requires a shift from materialistic to spiritual orientation.

Thus, workplace spirituality can be a tool for the organization through which people experiencing some common attachment and togetherness with each other within their work unit and the organization as a whole.

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