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Companies Struggle to Accommodate Employees' Religions

Companies Struggle to Accommodate Employees' Religions | MBA |

The Conference Board Review

"Religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent, or comprehensible to others in order to merit protection"

What happens when an employee's freedom of religion crosses paths with a company's interests? Expression of religion in the workplace often challenges businesses to find appropriate solutions to employees' requests.

" 'Obviously, you can't fire someone just because her faith differs from yours,' writes associate editor Vadim Liberman. 'But what happens when you face situations that aren't so black and white -- when the beliefs and practices of customers and co-workers come into play, not to mention the intricacies of employment law?'


As religion increasingly collides with corporate policies and practices, companies are asking what is and isn't permissible behavior -- for workers and for themselves.


"Last year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 2,541 claims of religious discrimination in the workplace -- almost 50 percent more than a decade ago. 66 percent of employees report 'evidence of religious bias at work.'


"So what's a company to do when it finds itself in a thorny predicament?


"...What if ... you run a tech-support company, and a technician refuses to provide help to a client that manufactures violent computer-software games? A devout Christian, she claims that servicing the customer would violate her faith. You explain that no other accounts have available openings, but she still objects.


"...What if ... you have a contract agreement with a union that stipulates that all your workers must become members of the union, but one recently hired employee refuses to join? He says doing so would violate his religious beliefs.


"What if ... a group of Christian employees objects to your company's portion of diversity training dealing with gays and lesbians? To protest, they silently read the Bible when homosexuality comes up during a training session.


In the end, just remember: 'religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent, or comprehensible to others in order to merit protection,' according to the law. 


Via Terence R. Egan
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Rescooped by Bruce from Behavior, People and Organizations!

Why We Do Need The HR Department?

Why We Do Need The HR Department? | MBA |
I just read Bernard Marr's article about why we don't need the HR Department, and I beg to differ. While I agree that the term "Human Resources" is definitely an old-fashioned term (coined back in

Via Terence R. Egan
Terence R. Egan's curator insight, February 23, 2014 5:28 AM


CEO-level research from The Conference Board and Deloitte both show that "human capital" and "talent" are the most important issues on the minds of CEOs. All of our research shows that businesses today are constrained by their ability to hire and develop leaders. This is the work of strategic, well trained HR professionals. Human Resource professionals solve some of the most important problems in business today.

Consider these  examples:

* A large insurance company with high turnover in the last ten years transformed its business by creating a new compensation structure, a talent mobility strategy, and a revamped employment brand. 

* A telecommunications provider recently changed its employee evaluation process and created a new set of internal training and leadership programs designed to attract engineering talent. They use social knowledge sharing, video sharing, and exciting recognition programs.

* A well-known manufacturer of office products has shifted its business toward services, completely transforming its operations and driving higher margins. A new "culture of learning" has been responsible for retraining technical and service professionals at all levels.

HR are the "talent masters" and, in today's talent constrained environment, we need them.

Rescooped by Bruce from Behavior, People and Organizations!

Never trust a man with a beard?

Never trust a man with a beard? | MBA |

How we choose to present ourselves is critical to acceptance by our public. In our mind, we have a (mental) picture of a typical tennis pro, chef, front desk clerk and waitress – from their dress and uniform to their memorable, stylish face. 


Cornell University reports that facial hair may scare (hotel) guests. They attempted to identify the effects of facial attributes on assurance (trust, comfort) perceptions. The report concluded that hotel companies should not allow beards, (they should) hold smile training and enforce grooming policies. 


I remember a lawsuit against a major hotel (with a policy of allowing no facial hair).  A back-of-the-house engineer, who was black, had a doctor’s note to allow a beard, due to a skin condition.  The hotel fired the employee. 


Nowadays , we have many types (of fashionable facial hair). Then, we can (also talk about) tattoos and other piercings.  How many ear piercings are appropriate? Nose? We should also probably consider make-up -- from lipstick to mascara. But who should be the arbitrator of taste?


I also remember a time where some hotel companies had no employees of color in order to "please" their guests.  We have come a long way ... as have guest perceptions.

Via Terence R. Egan
Terence R. Egan's curator insight, November 15, 2013 7:28 PM


This article reminds me of a boss I had. He never missed an opportunity to try to huimiliate me about my beard ... but only in front of others.


"Never trust a man with a beard", he'd say. That was the mildest of his retinue of offensive remarks. He wasn't a quick thinker normally, so he was either a natural where offense was concerned or he spent some of his significant idle time developing his cunning little 'witticisms'. 


Thankfully, I didn't have a whole lot of contact with him. And he was clearly happy for me to work for him ... three times in three different companies over nearly twenty years. And then he offered a fourth position that I had to turn down.


I guess there's no accounting for taste.