Most Fortune 100 Companies Neglect Faith-Friendly Workplace Initiatives
3 Feb, 2020
A new annual ranking of Fortune 100 companies shows many fail to include faith and religion as part of corporate diversity initiatives. The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation's new Corporate Religious Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) Index, released today, gives high marks to major companies like Google/Alphabet, Tyson Foods, and Intel for taking steps to recognize the importance of faith in the lives of employees.
The REDI Index establishes a new benchmark for annual assessment of the state of corporate America's inclusion of religion as an integral part of its diversity initiatives. Despite a positive faith-friendly trend emerging in a number of major corporations, the REDI Index also exposed striking shortfalls among Fortune 100 companies. Most companies on the list continue to overlook religious inclusion in favor of prioritizing other important diversity classifications such as race, sexual orientation, disability, and others.
"Companies scoring well on the REDI Index are using a variety of innovative programs to make faith expressions more welcome in the workplace, creating a more inclusive environment," said Dr. Brian Grim, President of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation. The Foundation is the leading global authority on issues surrounding how faith contributes to global business and economic success.
Each of the top ten companies encourage respectful religious expression in the workplace ranging from the development of faith-based Employee Resource Groups to having corporate chaplains. The top ten companies in the 2020 REDI Index raking are:
2. Intel (tie)
2. Tyson Foods (tie)
5. American Airlines (tie)
5. Facebook (tie)
9. American Express (tie)
9. Goldman Sachs (tie)
Alphabet/Google scored highest on the 2020 REDI Index because of the number and diversity of faith- and belief-based Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) mentioned on the company's website. Google has established an Inter Belief Network (IBN) that aims to create a culture of inclusion, tolerance, and mutual understanding at the company. IBN consists of multiple member chapters representing specific communities of interest, including but not limited to Buddhists, Christians, Jewglers [Google's term], and Muslims. Google's IBN also aims to ensure that the voices of belief-based communities are represented in Google's products.
Tied for second in the ranking, Tyson Foods openly welcomes what they call "the whole person," when it comes to matters of faith, even fully including those who don't identify as "religious." The company has ninety-eight dedicated chaplains that can provide compassionate pastoral care to team members and their families, no matter what their religious affiliation or beliefs.
While some of the biggest brands have begun recognizing that respect for faith expression is vital to recruitment, retention and creating a productive work environment, the majority of Fortune 100 companies have yet to account for the value of faith-friendly workplaces. The REDI Index revealed that outside of the top ten, many Fortune 100 companies fail to include religion as compared to other major identity categories: race/ethnicity, women/gender, sexual orientation, veterans/military, dis/ability, age, and family. "With religious affiliation and diversity continuing to grow world-wide between now and 2050, companies that fail to understand the value of a religiously inclusive workplace are increasingly at a competitive disadvantage," stated Grim.
REDI Index Top Line Findings include:
•57 of the Fortune 100's diversity landing pages fail to make a single mention of faith or religion.
•Race or Ethnic Diversity is mentioned more than 1000 times across company public platforms, but religion only 92.
•Fewer than 1-in-5 (18-percent) of companies mention having faith-related Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
•Of 775 ERGs touted by companies, only 5% are related to faith, interfaith, religion or specific religions
•Companies that include faith in diversity programs are overall more inclusive, including LGBTQ inclusion
"Failing to foster religious inclusion can be costly. In 2017, there was a $25 million court finding against Hilton for not reasonably accommodating the religious needs of a dishwasher. A high-profile Supreme Court decision was also rendered against Abercrombie & Fitch for putting their 'looks policy' above religious nondiscrimination. Going beyond the minimum legal requirements, employers are increasingly promoting religious diversity and inclusion in order to strengthen employee recruitment and retention," Grim said.
"While companies still have a long way to go to be faith-friendly, with major brands like Walmart, Salesforce, PayPal and others also starting to make this a priority, we are at a tipping point at which we will very likely see greater momentum on this issue in the near future. That's a great thing for business, especially because it means better, more inclusive workplaces for employees," said Grim.
The full study, including its methodology and the rankings of all Fortune 100 companies can be found at: https://religiousfreedomandbusiness.org/redi.
Next month, the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation in conjunction with the Busch School of Business at Catholic University will hold a groundbreaking conference in Washington DC, "Bringing Your Faith to Work," for employees and executives to discuss the importance of corporate programs that foster religious inclusion. It will feature executives and members of faith-oriented Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) sharing best practices, challenges and opportunities.
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