Saturday, February 1, 2014

Cultivating calmness

Workplace spirituality

Today, many organizations in Nepal are starting to accept that stress among employees is a serious issue that cannot be ignored any more. As such, a number of organizations are now starting to embrace workplace spirituality as an effective approach to tackle human relations issues like stress, conflict, teamwork, job satisfaction, motivation and productivity. There is a growing need to explore unconventional methods to motivate people who often work under stressful conditions. This is the reason many organizations have been conducting wellness programs that take a holistic approach of body-mind-spirit.

The human resource department of an organization must play a facilitative role to help employees understand their core strengths and their latent potential. This will help them achieve high levels of performance. Organizational practices like treating employees with respect and ensuring that they are recognized and rewarded fairly for their work must be put in place. Similarly, spiritual discourses, yoga and meditation courses should be an integral part of their training plan. Supervisors must take an active interest in ensuring that work-life balance is maintained to the highest extent possible, which could help the concerned staff find more meaning in his/her life. Family and work pressure is high in today’s fast-paced lifestyle, and work burnout could be an inevitable outcome if appropriate interventions are not available.

Organizations have realized that it is possible to allow employees to imbibe spiritual values without losing sight of profits. Attributes like loyalty, honesty and humility are at times viewed as incongruent to highly competitive performance based organizational culture. But with the inclusion of spirituality, employees can be taught to cherish values like teamwork, win-win situations and long term goals. In fact, a lot of people problems get resolved if the ego element is not at play in the workplace. This often becomes an impediment to many decisions.


If employees are treated with respect and are encouraged to lead a healthier lifestyle, it will definitely have a positive impact on their productivity. For instance, in the longer run, a benevolent supervisor is more likely to get more work out of his subordinates as compared to someone who believes in dictatorial style of management. The subordinates of a dictatorial supervisor may appear to work hard only when the leader is around. People are motivated more when managed with compassion rather than intimidation. In the longer run, a person with consistent good work habits would prove to be safer bet than a talented but volatile one without self-discipline.

A lot of young people are also embracing spiritual practices, and that has helped them see the bigger scheme of things and improve their self esteem as contributing members of society and country. Spirituality can help transform people into accepting bigger challenges and responsibilities.

It can unleash the creativity within. Many people who have done some spiritual courses like those offered in Nepal by Vipassana or Art of Living and practice those techniques, have more self confidence, emotional stability and maturity. Most short courses that introduce meditation, pranayama and yoga practices are neutral in terms of religion. They certainly help tap that subtle nerve that leads employees to realize their full potential. A spiritually conducive workplace can complement the motivation that one derives from other conventional rewards like good pay, promotion, etc. Employees who are self aware and motivated will certainly be a great asset for any organization

Organizations that foster spirituality are likely to witness an improvement in employee satisfaction and an increase in organizational commitment where values like mutual trust, transparency and team work are valued. If organizations are looking for an antidote for workplace conflict, then one could certainly prescribe a dose of spirituality. Additionally, improved work life could lead to more meaningful interpersonal relationships with family, colleagues and customers. An organization that wishes well for all stakeholders including its staff will value committed people with a high degree of personal integrity, which are in abundance in spiritual people.

The author is Head of
Human Resources in Nepal
Investment Bank Ltd