Balancing Workforce Needs

Managing a diverse, global workforce is challenging, to put it mildly. One aspect that may prove especially challenging is management’s ability to manage work schedules around employee’s observation of religious holidays. Companies have several stakeholders, including their own employees; therefore corporations have an inherit responsibility to maximize revenue. Unfortunately in the United States, as in other parts of the world, this dilemma is becoming increasingly problematic.

However, here in the United States employers have to effectively navigate over two hundred religious holidays observed by different ethnic groups each calendar year. So how does a company keep its fiduciary duty while balancing the provisions set forth by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)?

Simply put, companies should not acknowledge any religious holidays for any ethnic groups. One problem with that strategy is employee retention would become a major problem for those companies. Observance of important ethnic and religious holidays is part of healthy work/life balance, essential to curbing employee turnover, and sustaining morale. So, at what point are a fair number of religious holiday observed each year enough?

More importantly, how do companies find an equitable way to recognize religious plurality? What are your thoughts?