4 tips to create an inclusive culture that supports diverse religious identities

Bringing your whole self to work means that you feel comfortable embracing the different parts of your identity as part of a supportive environment. Your unique life experiences and beliefs help increase innovative thinking, develop new ideas, and better understand customer problems. Not only does that hold true for your gender, ethnicity, age, or abilities,

Portrait of successful team at work
Portrait of successful team at work

Bringing your whole self to work means that you feel comfortable embracing the different parts of your identity as part of a supportive environment. Your unique life experiences and beliefs help increase innovative thinking, develop new ideas, and better understand customer problems. Not only does that hold true for your gender, ethnicity, age, or abilities, but it extends to your faith as well.  

While religion is often perceived as an off-limits topic for workplace discussion, at Intuit we want to create an environment where our employees can feel comfortable bringing their whole self to work, including what they believe which is often core to how a person acts.

There are many ways to encourage and embrace diversity in the workplace, including employee resource groups (ERGs). Employee-led networks that align with your company’s mission and values, and are formed from commonalities such as ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion and are under-represented in the workforce. At Intuit, we have 14 employee resource groups, helping employees build a sense of community. These groups can help create an inclusive environment. They support the creation of inclusive product and customer experiences, and foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in the communities we serve.

We recently sat down with the leaders of our faith-based ERGs. Below are four tips on how to foster dialogue through an exchange of ideas to create a culture supportive of diverse religious identities.

Encourage respectful dialogue to create an inclusive and safe workplace

Amy Abulatta is a senior integrated marketing manager and also serves as a global leader for Intuit’s Muslim Network. When asked how someone can show up as an ally to someone of a different faith, her advice is simple. “It’s easy to surround yourself with people like yourself, it’s your comfort zone. But doing this can unintentionally isolate others around you.” says Amy, “Focus on inclusive behaviors that include being proactive and asking what others’ preferences are.” Getting to know your colleagues can deepen your understanding of diverse cultures and help you identify actionable ways to be a better ally.

As a sales leader and Intuit Christian Network member, Dan Scheffel shared that having a conversation with his manager about his faith allowed him to feel more comfortable at work. “We are all human and there is no longer a separation between work, home, and social life,” says Dan “We have one life.” Opening lines of communication can allow employees to decide to share the many parts of their identity. It can also lead to healthier relationships and can give employees the confidence to be themselves, which in turn can create a workplace that allows people to feel like they belong. 

Everyone plays a role in creating a workplace where we can have respectful dialogue, and that includes sharing your own preferences and creating the conditions for others to share theirs. Above all else, remember that differing beliefs do not mean differing behaviors in how we treat each other. When we all work to create inclusive and safe workplaces, we acknowledge and respect each other.

Support flexible work schedules and be inclusive with your team events

Understanding what’s important to your team members and being flexible to accommodate schedules can make employees feel more comfortable. Employees may participate in daily practices, like prayer, that may be important to their identity. For example, many Muslims participate in weekly Friday prayers or daily prayers that take 5 to 10 minutes to complete. Also important is being mindful of time off for religious holidays. Ask your team to take a proactive approach by scheduling time off ahead of time. You can also suggest blocking time off on their calendar so that others avoid scheduling important meetings when they may not be available. 

Happy hour get-togethers with cocktails or wine can be fun, but not everyone may consume alcohol. For example, having an event that focuses on alcohol may leave some people feeling left out. “Recognize that individuals of the Muslim faith may not consume alcoholic beverages or eat pork,” says Amy. 

Instead, explore team events that make everyone feel welcome, like hosting trivia games, organizing a volunteer event, or allowing team members to order their own meal. Not only can you find new ways to bring your team together, but you’ll create a more inclusive environment for everyone, no matter their beliefs. 

Create inclusive events that build community and help educate 

Amy mentioned that one of the hurdles faith-based ERGs face is that religion can be often portrayed in a negative light. The Intuit Muslim Network has focused on hosting events that are both rooted in faith, open to all employees, and can provide information while fostering open conversations. This past May for Ramadan, the ERG hosted a virtual event that shared more about both the history and tips for fasting but discussed that in addition to faith, fasting can protect and enhance the health of your body. The event was open to all employees and provided a fun and informative way for participants to learn about a tradition important to our Muslim colleagues.

Mike Repavich is a learning experience leader and one of our Intuit Christian Network global leaders. As the world and our employees navigate many difficult situations over the past two years, a number of our ERGs have come together to offer prayer services, open to all employees. Mike shared, “Prayer is one of the most powerful tools for a person of faith. With the increase in racial tensions in our society, we have offered regular prayer services with our Intuit African Ancestry Network and Intuit Asia Pacific Network. Similarly, we partnered with the Intuit Military Network in prayer around the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and on Veteran’s Day.” These prayer services are open to all employees and have become a way for employees of multiple faiths to come together during difficult times, helping to create a supportive environment and build a stronger community.

Creating a supportive and inclusive culture at Intuit

Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is foundational to our company. It’s also explicit in our values as we work to create an environment where employees can do the best work of their lives. We’re proud to be recognized in the Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (REDI) Index as a top faith-and-belief friendly company, supporting the religious diversity of our employees around the world. 

Elizabeth Johnson is one of the global leaders of the Intuit Christian Network. “We are blessed that Intuit is a trail-blazer for faith ERGs having offered them for years,” shared Elizabeth, “This recognition is a reflection of that support for employees of faith and an opportunity to learn how we can improve.”

Diverse talent helps us deliver results for our customers and fulfill our mission of powering prosperity for all. As shared by our Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Humera Shahid, “Intuit is a place where people come to work because they believe it’s an environment where they can grow. Intuit isn’t just a place where a certain type of person can be successful. It’s a place where everyone can thrive.”


Our team of contributors loves to uncover inspiring stories and share helpful tips to help power your prosperity.