The Spiritual Guide to Profits

Discussion
Sep 02, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Businesses are putting chaplains on the payroll and the impact has been uplifting for employee morale and company profits.

A report in The Christian Science Monitor, says companies have recognized that employees bring their problems to work and having a chaplain on hand can help them work through issues. At the same time, they say, it also doesn’t put managers in the position of dealing with issues they do not have the expertise to handle.

Coca-Cola Bottling Consolidated of Charlotte, N.C., found its test of a chaplain program worked so well that it rolled it out to 58 sites.

Ron Pettus Jr, vice chairman of the company, said, “All objective criteria (productivity, safety, profitability) got better,” adding, “two people were talked out of suicide and are leading productive lives; several rocky marriages were reconciled; and many were helped out of financial problems and to resolve issues with their children.”

The program worked so well, said Mr. Pettus, employees told the company “they’d take less benefits in order to keep the chaplain program going.”

David Miller, executive director of Yale University’s Center for Faith and Culture said, “If an employee has a substance abuse problem, or their husband is abusing them at home, or they’re going through some trauma, most are not likely to go to the HR department and say, ‘Would you just listen to me for a while?’ That’s where a chaplain fulfills a need.”

Tim Embry, CEO of American LubeFast, a chain of 70 oil change stores with 500 employees said having chaplains “has changed the heart and soul of our company.” It also, according to Mr. Embry, has reduced shrink, cut employee turnover and made the company profitable.

Moderator’s Comment: What are your thoughts on company’s having chaplains on staff to address the personal and spiritual issues of employees?

George Anderson – Moderator

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

9 Comments on "The Spiritual Guide to Profits"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
David Richardson
Guest
David Richardson
15 years 5 months ago

While I am a Christian, I think the use of chaplains to help people who need assistance or counseling may turn some people off who really need help. The way things are going today in our culture, anything that smacks of religion gives people additional fodder to gripe.

Many companies today employ professional counselors who come to their business location, are given an office, and meet with people one or two days a week. I know a counselor who does this with great success. She is a Christian. No one knows this unless they ask, and no one ever has, so religion is not a factor in any way. She stays very busy and has helped many people reduce their stress and become more productive in that organization.

Mark Burr
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

While I offer some oxygen to Bernice, I can’t for the life of me see a down side. With all due respect and if other alternatives are offered as well, why not?

This isn’t really a church/state issue. It’s a human issue and by eliminating the most essential source of human wellness and peace from the playing field, our results will continue to be the same as they are today – poor. There is nothing to fear here. And, there is always the option of ‘no thank you’.

Alternatives are never a bad thing especially one that is grounded in goodness regardless of the faith, Christian, Jewish, or otherwise.

Warren Thayer
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

If it works, great. There are also programs where employees can get outside counseling to talk about such problems, which might be preferable in some instances. Having sat on the board of a counseling center for some years, I was always amazed at how few people we drew from the local community, with nearly everyone coming from a couple towns away. Turned out that nobody wanted to risk being seen going to a counselor. They’d rather go to another town where nobody knew them. I’d suspect that unless companies are careful, they might face the same fears of employees afraid of being seen going to the chaplain. But clearly, from what I read, the program has done a lot of good.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

Here’s where I stick my neck out, it being Friday and all but I find this is a potentially highly offensive offensive. I know how desperately Christians are trying to take over every aspect of American society but face it, folks, you’re not the only players in the game. Faith and religion are an intensely personal matter and if companies can’t train managers or hire secular advisers for their staffs then they should butt out of their problems and simply offer support which tells them that they should seek professional advice outside working hours. Even the part of me that is inclined towards the live and let live philosophy cannot take this one calmly. Whew. Think I’ll take a deep breath now.

Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

My understanding of chaplains in the military is that they are to care for the soldiers, regardless of religion (or no religion) and not proselytize. Paid chaplains work for the NYC Fire and Police departments, too. If the employer finds positive results, I can’t imagine any downside, as long as there is no proselytizing, particularly if non-religiously based counseling is also available on a comparable basis. Furthermore, the military and the City of NY try to have a variety of religions represented.

Warren Thayer
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

Bernice’s point is well taken. The same alarm bells went off with me, but I figured we were talking about a non-denominational chaplain, and I also try to confine my postings to what fits into one of the little screens. But the church-state issue is indeed upsetting. This from a de-frocked Baptist who is now a devout agnostic and who discusses deep life issues with a retired rabbi.

Herb Sorensen
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

I look at it as the “school counselor” for adults. Why not? But it is essential that it not be a strictly religious function. Since religion is bound to play a part in many issues that employees bring, religious sensitivity is needed. But if religion is your hammer, there is a tendency to to see every problem as a nail. Religion is only one tool, which may offend some of the workforce. But they have their private sources if they wish more religiously oriented counseling.

Jeff Weitzman
Guest
Jeff Weitzman
15 years 5 months ago

I would think a psychotherapist on staff could serve the same function, but they probably cost more. Also, a chaplain may be more successful in the Carolinas than, say, Silicon Valley. A benefit program that pays for counseling might work best in other situations. As a manager, I would appreciate having a resource to work with when an employee had a personal issue that was beyond my ability to handle appropriately.

George Anderson
Guest
George Anderson
15 years 5 months ago

The key is employees are provided with compassionate care. It is this personal connection, whether on a spiritual, financial or other matter, that makes the work of company chaplain’s so important and productive when measured in objective terms.

Those truly called to the work of ministry continually demonstrate they are listening and willing to help others regardless of the other person’s faith or other distinctions we sometimes let get in the way.

Many know the letter of law but few live by its spirit. May God touch the hearts of our business, religious and political leaders and have them speak less about compassion and commitment and spend more time demonstrating it.

wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

Company chaplains - good idea or bad?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...