In the corporate spirit

Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts April 2000 Current Issue
April 2000
Short Cuts:
In the corporate spirit

Ocome all ye overworked might be a mantra chanted by a growing number of companies that are turning to spirituality to keep employees inspired and productive. some corporations are providing dedicated rooms for meditation and prayer, as well as time to use them. Other firms lead Torah study groups or offer in-house chaplains.

With long hours encroaching on family time and religious functions, "people are looking to find an anchor," says Laura Nash, director for the Institute for Values-Centered Leadership at the Harvard Divinity School in Boston. And some businesses are stepping forward to fill that need.

At Medtronic Inc., a medical device company in Minneapolis, employees are free to use a meditation room or partake in lunchtime tai chi or yoga classes, says Mary Ann Donahue, vice president of human development. "To be fully present, people need to feel they are supported in a number of areas in their lives," she says. By equipping employees with tools they might need to contend successfully with stressful things, Medtronic aims to help them "bring their whole selves to work," adds Donahue.

The trend toward encouraging spiritual fulfillment in the workplace is illustrated by the growth of Marketplace Ministries, which offers chaplains-for-hire to corporations. The Dallas-based firm is signing up a new client every four days, says founder and president Gil Stricklin. Chaplains sit vigil at employee hospital beds, preside over weddings and funerals, or simply provide "a listening ear" on regular visits, says Stricklin. "We're there to raise the umbrella of compassion."


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