Talent Management

Aug 25, 2021 11 min read

Role of Spirituality in effective Human Resource Management


“People are not useless; they are used less.”

  • Swami Vivekananda

The role of HR is to read the pulse of people and regulate such pulse in such a manner that he will never feel diseased, depressed or disheartened.  The role of human resource manager is to keep watch in the nerves and veins of every employee so that the inherent potent glow throughout to make it more vital, strengthened, and stimulated and saturated.

Spirituality is nothing but a medium to develop an attitude of purposeful life and living with strong commitment towards creation of and associated with goodness along with channelization of such goodness to produce further goodness for the universe.

Today’s Human Resource (HR) is not the HR of decades back.  The HR has got transformation day by day.   Present era is the era of openness, inclusiveness and sustainable development.  And development is nothing but bridging the gap between where we are and where we should be, based on the organizational requirement.

In this article, efforts are concentrated around testing the hypothesis that Human Resources are self-made, self-disciplined and self-managed.  Spirituality can make employees (human resources) self-developed, efficient and effective and thereby self managed. 

Introduction

In today’s business world, the employees are much more transparent, committed to individual contribution and group contribution, extremely careful and concern about self development.  They are equally concerned about the productivity, efficiency and effectiveness.  They are also concerned for rewards and recognition.

On the other hand Industries have also recognized the power of labour.  Accordingly industries are trying to fulfill the needs of Labour much before they demand.  When demands are fulfilled unnoticed, the unrest is automatically addressed.

Spirituality helps both HR and Industries to understand each others’ need.  Thereby a conducive environment is created with ‘You win-I win’ attitude.

People now are very sensitive to ethical labour practices.  In this open and transparent world, everyone is informed, and therefore, they know the cause and effect of everything that is happening.  Earlier, maximum labour unrest were observed due to lack of understanding of the purpose, lack of communication on ‘how’ and ‘why’ changes are being done etc..  Now, due to intervention of technologies, every difference can be easily measured and shown leading to consolation and understanding to the differences.

The objective of this article is to deliberate on how spirituality can contribute for effective HR development and management.  Following few points have been covered in this article with reference to the subject:

  • What is Spirituality?
  • How Spirituality is different from Religion?
  • What are the basic components of Spirituality?
  • What is Human Resource (HR)?
  • Does HR really need Management?
  • Changing trend of Labour Unrest
  • Spirituality for HR Management
  • What is Spirituality?

Spirituality is nothing but a sense of purposeful existence of human being. It is an individual prospective on Who am I? Why I exist? What is my role in this universe? How can I matter? Why I do what I do? How my contributions make any difference? etc. These set of questions bring the inner potent as well as the purposefulness of one’s existence. Spirituality is more of individual nature and an organization is nothing but set of individuals. So when each individual is filled with sense of purpose, the whole organization comes out with a purposeful organization and not only a profit-making set-up.

Spirituality is derived from the Latin word Spiritus’ which means “breath”. Spirit is defined as the vital principle or animating force within living beings. As all living beings breathe and the breath differentiates living thing from non-living, therefore, spirituality is nothing but realizing the purpose of the breath in such a way that the breath brings vitality in every living thing so that they can add more and more values.

In layman’s view, spirituality is an attitude for knowing ones’ own-self, exploring the inner divinity, developing the inner potential to use it purposefully for the betterment of the world around us.

Spirituality is being disciplined.

A disciplined mind – brings disciplined body.

A disciplined body and mind – brings higher productivity.

Productivity brings Prosperity.

Spirituality brings Openness (Open Culture)

Openness brings Trust amongst stakeholders

Trust brings connectedness (Lok Sangraha) and relation among employees (compassion).

Connectedness & compassion brings confidence.

Confidence brings ownership.

Ownership brings willingness and extra efforts.

Extra efforts bring higher productivity.

Higher productivity brings growth and development.

Growth & Development brings prosperity in an organization.

Prosperity multiplies productivity, growth and development and the cycle moves on.

The basic philosophy of spirituality is “meaningful work” ascribing to:

  • Karma Yoga (duty orientation having an indifference to rewards)
  • Lok Sangrah (interconnectedness for a common community purpose)
  • Transcendence of self as Gunas (Raj, Tama and Satwa guna)
  • Alignment with organizational values as Daivi Sampad (building a positive and divine work culture)
  • Holistic growth as Panch Koshas (acquaintance of existence of self and others)

In human being spirituality enhances the ability to realize the full potential as a person. Spirituality develops a conscious awareness that there is something more to life than just narrow, selfish and ego centric outlook to one’s surrounding.

  • How Spirituality is different from Religion?

Before entering in-depth into the subject let us make it clear that though spirituality has inter relation with religion, all religion teaches to accept, adopt divine principles of spirituality, whatsoever it may be. Spirituality here means the divine potent in man, the positive energy that one carry within oneself in the way of life. It’s the divine spark in every living thing, irrespective of any religion, which if explored can make many wonders, including effectiveness in employee management.

Spirituality is an individual trait and is deeply personal in nature.  It is not necessarily to be religious for developing the attitude of spirituality towards ones’ life.

Religion is more of rituals, related to caste, creed, society, location, time etc. whereas spirituality is free from any relation with any of these sections.  It is universally accepted human values and independent from any subjective interpretation.

  • What is Human Resource (HR)?

As we know Human Resource Management starts with hiring and ends with separation of employees with many interventions in between. In a diagram this can be depicted as follows:-

Diagram – 1

 

HR Activities in an Organization

Traditionally, HR activities involve the following:

  1. Job design
  2. Attracting people
  3. Hiring suitable people
  4. Orientation, training and development
  5. Placing right person at right job
  6. Performance appraisal
  7. Compensation
  8. Labour Relations and Boundary Management
  9. Superannuation and extending post retirement services

In the later part of this article we will discuss how and where spirituality can be imbibed in such HR activities.

  • Spirituality for HR Management

Management in true sense is nothing but controlling the aspects / resources in such a manner that the resources are available at the time of requirement. Management of any things resulted in full utilization or in other words wastage reduction, reduction of deprivation or scarcity.

So, similarly Human Resource Management concentrates around making manpower available at the time of requirement through recruitment, hiring etc. Putting right man at right place so that the available resource can be better and properly utilized, developing them through training so that they can contribute their part fully and confidently, recognizing their efforts through reward and compensation system, nurturing them to avoid wastage of human resources through brain drain and finally taking proper care after retirement.

Indian Organization Culture is based on spirituality. Take the example of strike in Maruti Suzuki (in India) which lost hundreds of man-days, millions of production only because of adoption of rigidity.  This is because of adoption of Japanese culture in Indian work environment. We can also refer to the example of one of the India’s biggest conglomerate TATA industries which has successfully imbibed the Indian Culture in work place and has proven successful since decades.

It’s said that people make or break an Organization. It is people who are proven instrumental in growth or closure of an Organization. Therefore, it is people who ultimately matters.

When we are talking about people, it is not only the head count, rather the skill, the attitude to implement the skill does matter.

Spirituality is nothing but scientific procedure to develop inner potent and to make such potent useful without any external influence. Spirituality is nothing but a concept once adopted and accepted by people, they can explode to bring all positivity to an Organization.

HR Practices in which spirituality can be adopted

Knowing very well the role of Spirituality in an organization, the outcome of spirituality and the impact of such outcomes in an organization, and with the agreement that spirituality is an individual traits and also accepting the fact that people make or break an organization, let’s now discuss how the spirituality traits can be developed in the heart, mind, deed and overall in the attitude of employees.

In every stage of employee related interventions in an organization, spirituality can be infused.  The following ways, inter-alia, can be adopted for fulfilling such objective:

  1. Hire people with care

Adoption of a culture starts with entry hiring of manpower.  Hire people who understand company’s mission statement and work accordingly to the company’s purpose.  The background of a candidate reflects many aspects whether the candidate having spiritual bent of mind set.  The family culture, the education, the institution where education is taken, the course curriculum chosen to study, the family financial background etc. can give a clear picture on the attitude of the candidate.  In case taken proper care by the recruitment team, right people with right attitude can be identified, selected and hired. 

  1.  Induction and Orientation

This is the entry point of an employee to the organization.  This is the transition time of what the newly recruited employee has brought with him, what is the existing aspects in the organization in which he is recruited and what is expected from him, and more over how to bridge the gap.

This is very critical transition time which a newly hired person tries to align, to adopt or to resist for the rest of his career till he is with the organization.  Therefore, proper spiritual dimensions like clarity of though, deep understanding, caring and sharing, connectedness, delegation and empowerment, culture of openness, fairness and welfare etc. are need to be imbibed in the mind so that he can comfortably align with all goodness of the new organization.

This stage is nothing but a stage of plantation of a sapling, expected grow properly and fructify contributing the main stream of growth and development of an organization.

There is a saying – “First Impression lasts long.”  Therefore, the treatment a newly hired employee receives during induction and orientation matters a lot.  A newly hired person should so specially be cared what is expected is nourished and nurtured.

  1. Placement of right person at right assignment

Everyone is unique with unique perception, interest, mind set, willingness, liking and disliking.  These basic things are already been imbibed in a person since childhood, and during the process of education etc. Now, at the later stage it is difficult to be completely changed.  Though the human potentiality is beyond imagination, it the nevertheless limited. 

Therefore, it is never wise to put an architecture engineer in human resource management function, as they are two different and special disciplines, designed in two different ways, to meet the interest of two sets of target people with totally different mind-set.  Mismatch of things in which one is interested in and the things one is assigned to deliver never results full satisfaction.  Thereby properly placing employees is very essential.  Also care for rotating people periodically.

  1. Action (performance) and its’ evaluation

This is the crucial stage in which spirituality takes the vital role.  Performance is individual.  Contribution is individual.  Even when individuals perform in a group, it is only the individual performance which synergized, and thereby the group outcomes become greater than the combination of individual outcomes.

Therefore ultimately, the individual performance does matter.  With this philosophy and school of thought, it is important to care employees much at the stage of their performance.  Create an environment of inclusion, diversity in thought and ideas in the company.

Spirituality contributes much at this stage as spirituality focuses in understanding the ‘why’ part of the doer (why should I do) as well as the ‘why’ part of action (why this is to be done).  This develops a sense of purposeful existence of the actor as well as the action.  Once these two are agreeably understood, and heartily accepted, then nothing resist the doer in willfully contributing fullest of the potent, with full of interest.

In such a spirited scenario, achieving the individual target as well as the organizational target is a must without fail. Further, set achievable goals with continuous feedback.  Enrich Jobs.

  1. Training and Development

There are few spiritual practices; every organization should focus to be inserted in the mind of employees through training and development.

The great saint, freedom fighter, enlightened spiritual Guru and the founder of Yug Nirman Yojana Pt. Shriram Sharma Acharya advocates that there are four mantras for spiritually charged bright future.  They are – Samajhdari (Understanding the purpose), Immandari (being Honest), Jimmedari (taking ownership and accountability) and Bahaduri (Bravery or courageousness) and there are four sutras (formulas or techniques) to achieve these four mantras.  They are – Swadhyaya (study of the self or self-knowledge), Sadhana (spiritual endeavors for self discipline), Sanyam (wise use of resources, time, thought and sense organs), and Seva (selfless service with empathy and compassion)

 

These time tested aspects, inter-alia, can be taught to the employees during the stage of training and development.

  1. Compensation

When deciding compensation for the efforts of people in an organization, spiritual attitude intends to give more, resulting to high level of satisfaction, which ultimately increase efficiency and production.  The satisfactions get reflected in every aspect of human dealings and thereby reflect the positive organization culture.

  1. Labour Relations and Boundary Management

A spiritually charged organization attracts better labour relation and boundary management.  This is because; every stakeholder knows that such types of organizations rarely do wrong.

Besides the above stages where we can focus inclusion of spirituality in an organization, there are some general actions which can be adopted any time to develop spiritual instincts in employees.  Some of these actions as are follows:

  1. Organize fun trips for employees and family members
  2. Arrange Yoga, Meditation and Pranayama sessions for employees and family members
  3. Organize seminars/ special talks with reference to spiritualism viz. personality development sessions etc.
  4. Invite spiritual practitioners periodically and conduct some gathering activities
  5. Encourage brain storming sessions and innovative ideation
  6. Encourage employees to spend more time with family and friends
  7. Organize volunteer social activities like sanitation camp in locality, Plantation, visiting orphan centers, destitute centers etc.
  8. Help employees connect with nature and natural features
  9. Hold out-door / out-station meetings when possible
  10. Honour creative expressions by decorating work-place
  11. Hold meeting in the round thereby creating feeling of inclusion

Components of Success contributed by Spirituality

There are components which contribute for the success of organizations and can be fostered by adopting Spirituality.  Some of them are as follows:

  1. Trust and Openness

This develops flexibility in mind set and accordingly develops acceptance.  This develops trust among people.  Openness keeps people informed and thereby leads a better organizational communication culture. The Stakeholders of a spiritually charged Organization thought to be characterized by honesty, openness and mutual trust.

  1. Culture of expression

In a spiritually charged organization, employees are encouraged to express their ideas, feelings and thoughts without any fear.

  1. Positive Attitude

This develops a positive work environment and positive work culture.  This reduces anger, fear and disbelief.  Develops mindfulness and reduce employee unrest.  This enhances employee satisfaction.

  1. Selflessness

Selflessness develops ownership – the cause of all efforts of employees in any organization.  This develops leadership qualities.  This encourages group enthusiasm and group dynamism.  This develops caring and sharing atmosphere.

  1. Introspection

Introspection develops self knowledge. It helps in Indentifying points of self improvement.  This triggers the eagerness to develop self and to maintain the good qualities. Comparison kills.  Self Introspection builds. 

  1. Strong sense of Ownership

Spirituality bent of mind make people more tilt towards ownership.  Then spirituality get reflected in the mind of every employee and accordingly they do contribute more and more. In a spiritual Organization, people not just do things for the sake of doing, they search the “why” aspect in whatever they do. They know the reason of their deeds. They have a purpose of doing something or purpose in not doing other things.

  1. Culture of Employee Empowerment

In a spiritual Organization, employees are considered the most valuable resources who can bring all positive changes. It is believed that no one commits mistake knowingly. It is accepted that man can make their future and accordingly in a spiritual Organization, people are empowered to take their own decision.

  1. Self-Realization

Spirituality makes people realizing their own self.  By various ways spirituality expresses to realize that every human being is a unique creation of God and made for making positive changes.  Each individual in this universe are made for making changes.  Spirituality ignites the inner divinity of every human being.  Accordingly self-introspection stands on the set of questions viz. Am I doing right? Why I am doing what I am doing? This makes every action purposeful. 

  1. Sense of Uniqueness

Spirituality guides man not to compare with others rather to compare everyday’s effort with the effort of previous day.

Comparison creates hatred differences, kills others for own survival, creates lose-win or win-lose situation.  But introspection creates conducive environment.  It creates atmosphere of group development, inclusive growth and win-win propositions.  Thereby organization development and individual improvement is the inevitable outcome of introspection.

j)        Limiting the Needs

Spirituality teaches us to limit our needs.  Once the needs are minimized, maximum of our efforts for greediness shall be automatically reduced. A person with limited needs shall be satisfied and happy and accordingly the evil aspects shall be reduced from his life.  People can understand each others’ basic needs and then there will be no more cruelty to unduly grab from each other.  This will lead to a conducive and inclusive work environment.

Results of adoption of spirituality in organisation

The outcome of adoption of spirituality in HR Management in an Organization can be as follows:-

  1. Organization shifts towards a purpose driven and meaning based
  2. The management of efficiency and control shall be shifted to management with vision and mission
  3. It develops open culture with highly motivating people
  4. Management practices and decisions will be aligned with divine values like honesty, integrity, kindness, love, care, hope, respect and nurturing
  5. Spirituality will bring a perfect alignment in Mind, Speech and Deed.  By bringing heart, soul and spirit together, spirituality brings passion to what one does, why he does what he does and how can he do it better
  6. Spirituality brings a fearless culture where the wall of hierarchy become invisible and a sense of community and inspiration develops
  7. Spirituality develops willingness to reflect on the meaning of life and moral implications in making every decision
  8. Spirituality brings a shared attitude that products and services need to be beneficial to community and humanity
  9. The employees in a spiritually charged organization are valued based on who they are, and what they can become rather than being valued based on efficiency and productivity
  10. Employees are treated in a respectful, responsible and caring ways with all human touch rather than being treated as instruments
  11. The conflicts in a spiritually charged organization are resolved in  ‘You Won - I Won’ fashion with utmost care and concern towards each other
  12. The leadership in a spiritually charged organization are more of benevolent in nature rather than Command-and-Control type
  13.  The employees in a spiritually charged organization are charged with positive vibes which are reflected in every aspects of that organization viz. improvement in morale, Job satisfaction, loyality towards organization, and thereby, enhanced productivity is natural outcome
  14.  In a spiritually charged organization, spiritual dimensions shall be seen integrated with respect to relationship, planning, budgeting, negotiation, compensation etc.

Spirituality is a therapy to address the ills of modern management and is anticipated as an ideal method for giving trust and confidence among employer and employees.

Table-1

Some activities which help in developing spirituality and their related impacts

SL No.

Activities

Impact/Results

1

Yoga# and Postures

Relief from mental stress; Relaxation of body muscles;  Addressing hypertension;  Reduce blood pressure and related diseases; Keeps body, mind and spirit aligned

2

Pranayam

Keeps mind cool, calm and composed;  Develops internalization of thought and helps in self-realization; Controls breaths and thus controls emotions; Reduces bodily ageing; Keeps mind free from bondage and burdens; Keeps respiratory system healthy

3

Meditation

Expands sphere of thought and imagination; develops self-realization; Keeps mind focused and concentrated; Develops memory by reducing  unnecessary loads in mind

4

Introspection (swadhyay)

Ignite the inner potent; Develops honesty and integrity;  Develops sense of purpose of life and living; Develops analytical mind; Develops trust, confidence and competence

5

Sadhana (spiritual endeavors for self discipline)

Eradicates misconceptions; Builds agility of mind; Develops 'trying' and 'never give-up' attitude; Makes people fearless and confident; Develop agility to change and flexibility towards acceptance of change

6

Service (Seva)

Develops selflessness and giving attitude; Develops connectedness by reducing ego states; Develops leadership qualities; Develops love and care attitude; Develops self-respect and sense of purposeful life

7

Sanyam

Develops prosperity; Make people punctual; Develops closeness to nature; Develops openness and transparency; Develops consciousness towards wise use of resources and time; Develops judgmental and logical mindset to accept or to reject things

Literally Yoga means conjunction, confluence. It is unification of the inner self with the supreme divine consciousness. In the Gita, Lord Krishna has described Yoga as an Art of doing things skillfully.  In the Gita, yoga is described in three forms:-

  • Bhakti Yoga – Action with pure devotion, sacrifice of Ego
  • Karma Yogaa – Actions without attachment to results and
  • Gyana Yoja – Action with Prudent Knowledge of the action

Source: Compiled by the Authors

 

Rishi Patanjali prescribes Asthang Yoga which is also called as Raja Yoga as follows:

Table-2

Rishi Patanjali's Asthang Yoga (Raja Yoga)

Yam

Niyam

Asana

Pranayam

Pratyahara

Dharana

Dhyan

Samadhi

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

It has five branches - Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthful-ness), Brahma-charya (Preservance the vital energy of body), Astheya  (limiting the require-ment), Aparigrah  (not becoming greedy to grab other's belonging);

 

Practicing five things combined in thought, speech and action known as Yam

It has five branches – Souch (cleanness of body, mind and speech), Santosh (being satisfied), Taap (accepting the pain of uncomforta-bility and difficulty), Swadhyay (study of own actions to know the self), Ishwar Pranidhan (feeling the close association with divine energy);  

 

Practicing five things combinely known as Niyan

There are 32 Asanas named after forest animals, trees etc.; they are done in stand-ing position, sitting position, sleeping position; Bhujangasan, Vrikshyasan, Parvat-asan, Shirs-asan,

Hala-asan, Machhy-asan, Vajra-asan are some of the asanas.

It is Prana + Aayam, means control of the breath (the life energy).  It consists of various breathing exercises meant to deep inhale, holding and controlling the breath.

 

Vramari, Anulom-Vilom (Nadi-sodhan), Vastrika, Kapalvati, Vayu Pranayam, Ujjai, Shithli karan are some of the exercises to cite.

It is Prati+Ahara, means controlling desire of the senses and internalizing the needs of sense organs (Eye, Ear, Nose, Tongue and Skin)

It is concentrating of mind on one selected things which we want to keep, hold and contain

It is continuous concentration on any aspect of Dharana.  In other words, when we constantly and continuously concentrate on one selected thing, it is called Dhyan. It is single mindedness on one aspect.

 

Keeping the mind quietly, calmly,  in constant , continuous and concentrated way on a single aspect is Samadhi

Note: 1.  The first four aspects are related to external bodily postures and practices and the subsequent four aspects are related to internal body, mind and thought

2.   Any of the eight can be practiced without sense of sequence

3.   The more we progress from left to right, the more we become internalized

Source: Compiled by the Authors

Conclusion

More precisely, Spirituality recognizes human being as very special.  It describes every individual as unique, made to make meaningful contribution not only for his own but for the world at large without bringing any loss to or any pain to anyone or anything.

Spirituality is based on the belief that every individual continuously seeks for acquiring a meaningful engagement in their work assignment.

Spirituality offers a guiding plan for governing both personal and professional life.  It is easy to say but not really that easy to segregate personal attitude from professional attitude of a person.  Hence, a person with spiritual bent of mind carries the same to his work-place too.

Spirituality commands to believe that for every problem there is a solution.  For every bad event, there is always a way to come out.  Thereby, spiritual person accepts things as they come and try to put his best to improve the situation.

Spirituality advocates a feeling of interconnectedness with a common understanding.  It is a kind of recognition that every professional is having an inner self which is nourished through a meaningful work in the context of community setting.  An important dimension of spirituality is sense of community which attributes to living in harmony with each other resulting in mutual growth and overall satisfaction.

Therefore, adoption of spiritual aspects in an organization makes the job of management smart, smooth, effective and value adding.

References:

Anonymous, (2010), Spectrum of Knowledge, Key to Art of Living, Yug Nirman Yajana Press, Mathura, India

Dr. John Marques, (2005), HR’s Crucial Role in the Establishment of Spirituality in the Workplace, The Journal American Academy of Business, Cambridge, Vol.7, Num.2, Page-27-31

Anonymous, Is there room for “spirituality” at our workplace?

Anonymous, Human Resource Management Through a Spiritual Lens

Anonymous, Workplace Spirituality

www.google.com

 

     

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Comments (1)

Babu P

Brilliant Article

  • 08 Sep 2021

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