There has been much discussion on how to curb attrition. Literature is replete with techniques of employee retention practices. Nevertheless, the problem remains elusive Many organisations have started to utilize spiritualism in improving the workplace or lessen the rate of attrition in modern management. Before we address this question, we need to place the attrition-context in perspective.
The Triple Bottom-line Approach:
Today, people are finding that there’s more to life-and business-than profits alone. Money as the single bottom line is increasingly a thing of the past. In a post-Enron world, values and ethics are an urgent concern. The hottest buzz today isabout a “triple bottom line,” a commitment to “people, planet, and profit.” Employees and the environment are seen as important as economics. Some people would say it’s all about bringing one’s spiritual values into one’s workplace. A poll by KRC Research for Spirituality published November 17, 2003 in USA Today found that 6 out of 10 people say workplaces would benefit from having a great sense of spirit in their work environment.
Enter Spirituality in Management:
What is spirituality in management? There’s a wide range of important perspectives. Some would say that it’s simply embodying their personal values of honesty, integrity, and good quality work. Others would say it’s treating their co-workers and employees in a responsible, caring way. For others, it’s participating in spiritual study groups or using prayer, meditation, or intuitive guidance at work. And for some, it’s making their business socially responsible in how it impacts the environment, serves the community or helps to create a better world. Be that as it may, there lies an enigma in what the word “spirituality” relates to, in the work environment.
Spirituality and Spiritual Leadership:
Spirituality in management is one of the “hottest” emerging fields in management as it provides corporate reputation for competitive advantage. Spirituality has an important role to play as an aide to leadership development, as well as leadership effectiveness. It has been pointed out that spirituality promotes effective leadership practices which can have a significant impact on organizational life and ultimately organizational success. Mitroff and Denton’s spiritual audit wanted to know if having a spiritually-oriented boss reduces health risk in areas that extend beyond the work setting, such as tobacco or alcohol use, proper diet, and depression or anxiety. Bennett examined the role of spirituality in workplace health through a case study approach of small business leadership wherein apart from manifold practices, different workers would take turns saying a short prayer over the speaker-system just before the start of the work day. This study results point to the fact that spiritual health of the business operator may potentially be a key resource that can improve employee health. Many interviews talked about the importance of honesty, integrity, respect, and having a relationship with God or a Higher Power. Individuals and organizations who perceive themselves as more “spiritual” are more creative, productive, and adaptive since work is connected to a bigger picture. Carroll observes, spirituality, deeply held spiritual belief, however we might define these things, are all necessary to achieve real sustainability, and also serves as a teacher and a guide. Spirituality means beginning to become aware of a consciousness higher than that of the body-mind centered ego, and the ability to live more and more in it under its guidance. Spirituality is therefore the ability of an individual to understand the innate divine nature ofthe human self that can realize its potential to reach the “Higher Self”. This is also known as the spiritual quest. Spirituality is different from religiosity. While religiosity is concerned with scriptures, rituals, institutionalized and patterned beliefs, spirituality revolves around righteousness, compassion, love and individual concern for others.
What is spiritual leadership? Wolf defined spiritual leadership as “building an environment of respect, ethics, values and integrity.” Spiritual leadership is moving leaders from managing employees to inspiring employees, a critical component of transformational leadership. It integrates transformational and servant leadership with spiritual, ethical, and values-based leadership models into a combination of core competencies, skills, and learned techniques to provide a model of behaviour for the spiritual leader, and this approach asks fundamentally different questions about what it means to be human, what we really mean by growth and what values and power distributions are needed to enhance both organisations and society as a whole. Spiritual leadership asks the leader to be the one who can show what it means to be human and what it means to be authentic, which is an important aspect for organisations for gaining deeper insights of spiritual self and of the spiritual lives of others with whom the leaders interact and also those who are affected by the results of their leadership.
The organizational benefits of spiritual leadership include increased organizational performance, intrinsic employee job satisfaction and involvement, higher employee performance resulting in improved customer service and higher rates of return on investments. The inspirational and/or transformational effect of spiritual leadership can result in positive moral beha-viour of the members of the organization. For the stakeholders
of the organization, the impact of a spiritual organizational culture translates not only to the integrity of the organization but also to the financial returns from improved performance and customer satisfaction.
Some authors define spiritual leadership by five components which are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, em-pathy and social skills. It is a fast emerging post-modern management paradigm. Spiritual leadership has the potential to guide organizational transformation and develop positive organizations, where human well-being and orga-nizational performance can not only coexist but also can be maximized.
Based on the qualitative interviews conducted with 32 managers in Turkey, a typology of spiritual anchors has been developed. Spiritual anchors are patterns of deeply held spiritual motives, values, and attitudes, which provide direction, meaning, and wholeness to a person’s life or work. They are the spiritual DNA of the individual or a fractal of the individual’s holistic value system. Nine spiritual anchors that characterize leaders’ value compasses in organizations include: (1) perfection; (2) compassion; (3) passion; (4) inspiration; (5) investigation; (6) dedication; (7) appreciation; (8) determination; and (9) cooperation).
Foregoing therefore, are the essence of spiritual leadership.
Spiritual Climate as yet another form of organizational climate:
Fundamentally, organizational climate refers to perceptions of organisational practices and procedures that are shared among members and which provide an indication of the institutionalized normative systems that guide behaviour. An organization’s climate regarding spirituality forms the spiritual character of the organisation, by providing the environmental cues that guides spiritual behaviour. Decisions of founders and other top leaders in the early stages of the organisation’s life cycle have a profound impact on the development of an organisation, and lead to the creation of strategies, structures, climates, and culture.
Similarly, spirituality of employees is reflected in work climate. Research has shown that organisations with spiritual climate that provide their employees with the opportu- nities for spiritual development are better in performance than others.
Spirituality in management is therefore increasingly gaining importance as a specialized area for further research. Once it gets deeply rooted in an organization DNA, it would therefore be useful:
l in infusing spirituality in the workplace
l identifying inhibiting factors for institutionalizing spirituality at work
l for motivating and controlling the employees
l The above mentioned applications would result in several benefits to employees at large in enhancing her/his job satisfaction and job involvement, organizational commitment and in turn productivity. The organization, therefore, would also derive benefits, in terms of business performance and sustainability. These would lead to employee wellness and organizational success.
This would be feasible through spiritual leadership which will help create spiritual climate, thereby improving quality of work life and reducing attrition-rate in organisations.