SALT LAKE CITY — Corporate chaplains aren't a new concept in the business world. In fact, they've been around for more than 50 years, boosted by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which helped strengthen the staying power of the position. There are even companies that specifically seek to match a chaplain with a corporation to best serve the needs of the employees that work there.
Corporate Chaplains of America, an organization that provides career chaplains to companies, says that, "Chaplains in the workplace are fast becoming a personalized service that companies of all sizes are calling upon," and that people who provide this service aid in "reducing employee stress, helping employees deal with personal and family emotional issues, easing potential violence and conflict in the workplace, (and) focus on bringing improvement to a company’s bottom line."
More than 4,000 major corporations have on-staff chaplains including Ford, Coca-Cola, Tyson Foods and General Motors, according to Christian News Network.
The balance is delicate, as a corporate chaplain must serve the needs of people of all faiths and cannot proselytize or favor any one belief system over another.
Religion isn't the sole focus, as corporate chaplains serve in a number of capacities, sometimes as a life coach or listening ear, counselor or mediator. As a result of the success companies have seen, some are hiring corporate chaplains instead of paying for other employee help services.
As for the chaplains themselves, they come from all faiths and walks of life. Some retire from the pulpit or full-time clergy work to pursue a personal interest in the business world while using their experience in the church to help their fellow employees. Others see it as a way to reach out into their workplace, rather than wait for people to enter through the doors of a traditional church for help and guidance.