Until recently, the words "spirituality" and "business" were not used in the same sentence, nor were they compatible in the workplace. People were forced to keep their spiritual convictions strictly to themselves for fear of criticism, or even so far as to act kindly and ethical outside of work and then forget all that when they entered the office. The global business environment is changing and words like meditation room, conscious capitalism and fulfillment at work are the new buzzwords. People want to be able to integrate their personal spiritual beliefs and values with the way they do business.

The rise of faith-friendly companies and the clamor for work/life balance, suggests that management in companies are coming to realize that the “human” resource must be tended to in different ways than was previously accepted. It is a simple fact that when employees feel valued, fulfilled and safe in their work environments, they perform better, have less stress and are less likely to leave the organization because they are unhappy. These cause and effect relationships save organizations millions in sick leave, burnout and employee retention issues.

Dutch Initiatives in Spirituality at Work

Local Dutch spirituality/wellness magazines like HAPPINEZ and ZEN have regular columns that discuss spirituality in the workplace, and the most recent May issue of Zen has Spiritueel Op Kantoor (Spiritual in the Office) on the front cover.

According to ZEN Magazine, more and more workers are looking to work for companies with high ethics and values that are aligned with their own. While a good salary and benefits are important, there are other factors such as the position of the company on issues such as social responsibility and environmental stewardship that influence the decision to join them or not. In Holland, the job placement agency called Werk Voor Werk (Work for Work) has started a new initiative to offer jobs with companies who aspire to hold high ethical standards in their business practices. In the first month, there were 20,000 visitors to the website http://www.deduurzamevacaturebank.nl .

Universities are also integrating the body, mind and soul connection into their curriculum. Harvard Medical School has a Mind Body Medical Institute. The University of Arkansas Business School has just received a $2 Million gift from the Tyson Family Foundation, to create an endowed chair in Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace. The renowned Dutch university Nyenrode Business Universitiet offers studies in ‘business spiritualiteit’. They recently sponsored a business workshop in Dutch called “The Bridge to Spirituality; Radical Improvements Begin at the Roots.” The website called Spiritual Entrepreneurship offers many links and connections to what is happening in this cutting edge field. http://www.spiritueelondernemersnetwerk.nl

A 1996 NIS News Bulletin stated that the two large Dutch Trade Unions, the FNV and CNV want more attention paid to measures that make work more pleasant, which they believe boosts productivity. The CNV will actually demand the right to meditation and a silent space at work in future collective labor negotiations. These types of organizations act as catalysts to create awareness that meditation and other spiritual development tools will become more and more important in the years ahead to cultivate a happy and productive workforce.

The Dutch coaching organization called CoachNet is organizing a congress in Zonheuvel te Doorn on June 28th, 2007called Spirit op de Werkplek (Spirit in the Workplace). Several hundred coaches will attend this meeting to learn about combining personal and professional integrity and helping their clients work from a spiritual center. You can learn more at http://www.spiritopwerkplek.nl.

Pentascope, a Dutch consultancy firm with 5 offices all over Holland, offers their employees spiritual training and courses. Two spiritual coaches are on staff to help keep the Pentascope employees in balance. They have gained notoriety on local television and news articles and have recently been nominated for the prestigious International Spirit at Work Award for their efforts to promote spiritual growth in the workplace. http://www.pentascope.nl.

On October 5th, 2007, the Stichting Samenleveing & Bedrijf, for the first time, will sponsor a large meeting in Rotterdam called the Future Leaders Event. They will invite 1000 young, future business leaders to come together to be inspired, to debate
and to raise the awareness of these young business people. They will be exposed to national and worldwide concerns about social responsibility, climate deterioration, and ethics and values based business practices and what they can and must do in the future as leaders to bring about change. http://www.futureleadersevent.nl .

These are just a few of the initiatives that are happening in the Netherlands, to bring more spirituality and integrity to the workplace. This trend will develop more commonplace standards as people begin to see the value of integrating Spirit into their personal and work lives. The time is coming where the words spirituality and business can coexist in the same sentence and in the same organization. This will surely contribute positively to the wellness of the employee and to the wellness of the organization.

Author's Bio: 

Barbara Rogoski, known as “a spiritual teacher in a business suit” is a professional speaker, trainer, writer and teacher on Spirituality in Business and Workplace Meditation. Her company, Authentic Matters, http://www.authenticmatters.com , promotes the integration of spirituality in personal and work life and the use of meditation as a tool for enhanced performance and stress reduction. For more information, email: barbara.rogoski@authenticmatters.com