Management Principle 8

Tailor facilities to personal needs and wants wherever possible

A life philosophy can be expressed through religious practices or activities. It can also be expressed by external symbols such as a cross, a yarmulke or a headscarf. There may well be questions, needs or wishes on the part of employers and employees in this regard.

Listen to questions
Although employers are not obliged to make exceptions or adjustments because of individual personal needs and wishes related to a particular philosophy of life, these are relevant to making an organisation more inclusive. An employer who listens to these questions and discusses them makes individuals feel recognised and valued, regardless of the final decision.

Take the entire organisation into account
It is important to broaden the outcomes to these questions. In searching for a solution, the needs of all employees should be considered. A variety of employees should therefore be consulted in the search for a solution that benefits the entire organisation, rather than just a specific group.

Engage in dialogue
Finally, be prepared for very specific questions, and possible resistance when the solution is presented to the whole group. Ensure that the dialogue takes place at the level of values, in the event of resistance.


Tips to ensure that your facilities meet personal needs

  • Establish a space for all quiet activities in the workplace.
  • Provide facilities to wash and/or shower at the workplace.
  • Provide an ingredient list and/or offer a range of different dishes and drinks when a reception, lunch or dinner is organised, or a gift is presented.
  • Company regulations should clearly state whether symbols representing life philosophy are allowed in the workplace.
    Please note: symbols representing religions or life philosophy may only be forbidden in specific instances. For more information on this go to Unia’s website.

More tips?
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A case in point

Roefs Group is consciously pioneering diversity

‘Wherever possible, we tailor our food and beverage provision to the personal needs and wishes of our employees. So, we provide a separate griddle for halal meat and a wide range of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and so on. In these small ways we try to give something back in return for the many things we expect from our people.’

Small effort – big impact

‘These measures are simple to implement and have a big effect on workplace atmosphere and the feeling of togetherness. So everyone feels they are welcome to join in celebrations, regardless of gender, age, origin or philosophy of life. The resulting, mutual respect in the workplace is clearly apparent.’


a talk with

Marco Van Haegenborgh

Head Local Department (NL) at Unia

The Local Department consists of five regional contact points in Flanders. It is their task to be close to the public, giving them access to Unia. At the same time, they stay in close contact with local actors (e.g. cities and municipalities) to promote equal opportunities and diversity.

According to Marco, two things are of great importance when managing philosophical diversity in the workplace: looking for the greatest common denominator – and dialogue.

Avoid polarisation

‘If you get a specific question about making a change because of a religious practice, it’s important to find a solution that benefits everyone, not just the person who asked the question. Don’t put one group at the forefront of the solution, as this often leads to resentment. Avoid polarising situations by creating “winners” and “losers”.

‘Dialogue on this topic is extremely important, especially within SMEs, as they often do not have trade unions or works and steering groups.’

Read the full interview


Tools om een veilige werkomgeving mogelijk te maken

Deze vrij raadpleegbare, online tools helpen het huidige niveau van je organisatie op vlak van diversiteit en/of inclusie te bepalen:

Establish inclusive practices

Make tasks, schedules and holiday arrangements as personalised as possible

Establish inclusive practices

Make tasks, schedules and holiday arrangements as personalised as possible