June 2011 - Workplace Spirituality in Pakistan
Workplace Spirituality in Pakistan
by guest author, Waqqas Alvi
We must understand the reason why we are here in this world. There is a reason, a purpose of us being here because without a purpose we will not exist. There is a purpose for which we were created and connected with each other. This purpose connects us, pulls, guides, thrives us and it is the purpose that binds us together.
What is that purpose? A purpose that is strong enough to keep us alive even in the toughest time of our lives. A purpose that gives us hope and strength to keep going when we are about to get disappointed.
We have seen a number of physicians and doctors who did their medical science degrees from the most reputed medical and health universities. Who are specialized in their field of medicines, have written a number of research papers and books but they are not very well known for curing a disease. They are very well educated and have very sound knowledge of human body. They are good teachers and professors but they are not gifted with the art of healing people.
On the other hand, we have seen some doctors who did their medical science degrees from an average health university and do not hold any specialization but still a large number of ailing were well treated and had been cured by the medicines they recommended. What is the reason behind it? Why a junior doctor succeeded where a senior and specialized doctor was not able to cure people?
The major difference between these two types of health practitioners is the difference of their purpose of learning and getting the medicine degrees. The first type of doctor obtained the medical science degree to become reputed in the world and for the financial gains associated with it. They do get reputed as teachers and authors. They also get tremendous financial gains but they fail to serve the actual purpose of being a doctor, that is, to serve humanity and cure illness.
Whereas, the other type of doctor have a purpose aligned with the natural and built in value system of human beings. They achieve their goal of serving humanity, treating illness, helping people, curing the diseased and making people to live a healthier and better life. Such doctors also get very well reputed and have financial gains as well but their focus is always to serve humanity. Money, fame and power come to them as a by-product of their actual mission.
The above example explains the purpose we are here for. We are here to serve others and this is the only purpose and reason that connects us with each other. Our natural value system is based over humanistic values of truth, honesty, respect, courtesy, love, commitment, justice and above all, to serve others. Aligning these values with our profession, gives us the ultimate satisfaction and pure contentment.
Most of the companies, organizations and corporations, in todayís corporate West, are established not only to get financial gains but also to serve a greater cause to the community. They always have a purpose, vision and mission that clearly states how they are going to serve the humanity. The people working with these corporations have found that their individual values are integrated with the business principles of these corporations. They understand that an employee is a part of a greater whole ó a corporation ó and thus enables it to serve the greater purpose of serving humanity.
Teachings of faith and religion are the oldest ones that deal with the concept of serving humanity. Love, respect, peace, equality and justice are some of the common values that are being taught to the followers of a religion. Faith delivers the foundations of a community that is always aligned with the laws of nature and it is because of this alignment that more than 80% of todayís world population feels comfortable in believing in God or a divine power and keep a faith.
Pakistan is a growing business market with tremendous potential. The economic reforms in the country have accelerated the growth of national companies. Foreign direct investment has also increased and a number of multinationals have already established themselves in Pakistan. These are the global giants who understand the importance and reason of incorporating faith at the workplace. They are already following the concept of spirituality and faith within an organization and are enjoying the benefits of it.
Human resource development has become an important part of national companies of Pakistan as well. Management and HR trainings are already taking place in a number of organizations. The HR heads realize the importance of people working around them as the most integral asset of the company and personal development programs are conducted on regular bases. These efforts are done not only in the interest of people but also to make employees perform to their peak in the interest of the organization.
Human resource departments of different companies in Pakistan have a different approach towards the motivation and performance management of employees. Management trainings conducted within these companies are effective and help in grooming of not only the employees but also in the growth of company. Some HR officials are satisfied with the results but many have reported that the motivation and performance increase does not sustain for long. People get motivated to work and they start to produce results but this lasts not for a good enough time and the workforce again start to find excuses for their nonperformance. People start to blame each other for not showing results and no one takes the responsibility of a failure.
This case is not only associated to Pakistan; the corporate West had faced this issue as well. Researches were conducted to identify the gap because of which, even the most effective management trainings were not able to sustain the change they had brought in the behaviors of people.
Years of research showed that the change in human behavior is only sustainable if it is a change from within oneís self. The human value system rates the deeper and integral values of a being to the highest level and these values are in synergy with the laws of nature. We tend to react and a change is never welcome but if this change in behavior is a call of our inner-self, we follow it.
Our inner values of love, respect, justice, truth etc are based over human nature. If a message of change that is aligned with these inner values is transmitted to the human brain, it is treated as a call of inner-self and the external message of change doesnít feel to be an external element. So the change in behavior that is brought by addressing the basic human moral and ethical values is a sustainable change.
Understanding the human nature has helped the corporate West to incorporate a new concept of motivating people and bringing a sustainable change in their thoughts and behavior. This concept deals directly with the inner-self of a being and reactivates the true values of love, respect and commitment. The corporate West has termed this concept as Workplace Spirituality.
Spirituality at the workplace is to find the connection and integrating your personal values with the values of your work. Every profession in this world has some values attached to it. You are a doctor, a scientist, salesperson, legal advisor, business consultant, realtor, teacher, financial advisor or an engineer. There is always a set of moral and ethical values associated with your profession.
If you are a camera salesperson, it is your professionís value to help your client find a solution to take pictures of better resolutions and you are not actually selling a camera, you are helping him with a solution of better pictures.
If you are a business consultant, it is your professionís value to help your client in researching and identifying a new market. You are not making your client to buy your research services; in fact, you are helping him in expanding his business to new markets.
Note that in both cases, you are actually fulfilling your inner value of serving and helping.
"Spirituality" is defined as enabling yourself to identify the essence of your being. Identifying the deepest values that serve the purpose of existence and that purpose of serving connects and binds us together as humans.
"Workplace Spirituality" is not a new concept in the West anymore but it has never been practiced or discussed in the corporate world of Pakistan.
The term "spirituality" is usually considered to be a religious term and in the current corporate environment of Pakistan, people tend to keep spirituality out of office, no matter how religious they are in their private life. Human resource departments are unaware of the research going on all over the world to keep spirituality within the office boundaries and the positive impacts of talking and practicing faith within an organization. All moral and ethical values are derived from faith and when people are provided with a comfort of practicing their faith within an organization, they get relaxed, motivated and passionate that makes them committed to their work. It gives them a purpose of working and helps them find the reason they are here, in this world.
Spirituality does not only affect the morale and performance of employees, it also helps in brand recognition. "Business Week reported that 95% of Americans reject the idea that a corporationís only purpose is to make money. 39% of U.S. investors say they always or frequently check on business practices, values and ethics before investing. The Trends Report found that 75% of consumers polled say they are likely to switch to brands associated with a good cause if price and quality are equal." [The abstract was taken from the official website of Ace Center for workplace Spirituality on April 3, 2011 and can be retrieved from http://acews.com.]
Increased spiritual and faith based activities are not only associated with the West but in Pakistan also; the cause-based brands are getting popular. The corporate world of Pakistan is also moving towards the new concept of faith and spirituality at workplace. Itís only a matter of time and the organization that will establish its vision, mission and values, based over spirituality, is going to take the first mover advantage in the business market of Pakistan.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
(c) 2011 Waqqas Alvi, used by permission of the author. Waqqas Alvi is a business analyst, management and sales consultant for online businesses. He is the founder and CEO ofSEO Limited, an Internet marketing firm. He believes in learning and sharing the knowledge. The process of learning, development and sharing the acquired knowledge has led Waqqas to become a part of the first ever organization of human resource development incorporating faith at workplace and addressing the core human values of a being, Ace Center for Workplace Spirituality, in Pakistan. He is now an associate at AceWS and a part of the team that believes in success of others as their own success.
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