This writer and preacher believes that companies should have a ‘corporate priest’ with whom you can discuss ethical dilemmas

A good confidential conversation at important moments in your career; openly and unabashedly discuss ethical dilemmas and questions of life without the other passing judgment on them. Pastor and writer Joost Röselaers and Fleur Brockhus – author of books about happiness at work and teacher of professional ethics at the UVA – believe that every person who works there is moment needs. They came up with the idea together during a walk on the Hilversum Hei, where Brockhus interviewed the liberal pastor for her podcast Slow will we live. They tell Business Insider more about the concept that they have provisionally dubbed the corporate priest. What exactly is a corporate priest?

Brockhus: “We are still looking for a term that appeals to everyone, but for the image we have now opted for the term corporate priest. We want to redefine the role that a pastor or pastor has traditionally fulfilled and thereby step into companies.” “The most important task of a corporate priest is to look at current issues with an eye from eternity. Creating a place where people can turn to with their ethical dilemmas and life questions.” “We imagine that you can call in the corporate priest if you need reflection. You can tell him or her what is bothering you, what you can’t figure out or what you regret. If you can spar with an independent and wise person, someone who can provide stories that work like a mirror, insight and awareness about your personal motivations often arise.” Röselaers: “The corporate priest can be a theologian, but that is not necessary. For example, it could also be a philosopher or writer. More importantly, he or she is a good listener, can draw on experience and stories passed down from generation to generation, and above all, is willing to consider complex moral issues.”

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“The corporate priest does not judge, but dares to be a firm ‘opposite’. Someone who challenges and dares to contradict in order to clarify the moral issue that the other person is struggling with.” How did the idea come about?

Brockhus: “Joost and I both regularly speak to people who struggle with personal or professional matters. I from my role as a trainer and writer and Joost from his work as a preacher. Walking is a great way to start a good conversation despite the corona measures.Since I wrote an article about this in the Financieele Dagblad last year, I have often been approached by people who have had to deal with this.” “We went through the course of events while walking in peace. The whole process that eventually led to her leaving the company. Where did it go wrong? It was not unambiguous, it happened gradually. There was a large gray area. There were moments to point out. Then it passed. And we talked about those moments.” “In those gray moments she had felt lonely. She couldn’t talk about it with her colleagues. At home and with her friends, she is not used to discussing such complicated matters. At the compliance department, they did not know what to do with her questions in this gray area.”

Brockhus Joost and I both regularly speak to people who struggle

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“Actually”, she said, “I should have had a conversation at those moments like we have now. With someone who listens to me disinterestedly, who is a critical opposite, and who has developed language and feeling to interpret moral dilemmas.” “When I then spoke to Fleur about this, we decided to investigate together whether we can fill that need ”But aren’t there already enough professionals people can turn to if they run into problems in their work?

Röselaers: “Unlike a compliance officer, confidential adviser, HR employee or manager, we believe that a corporate priest should be independent of the organization he or she is engaged by. It is also not our intention for a corporate priest to come up with a step-by-step plan on how someone can tackle their problems, as a career coach might do.” “Every employee should have access to the corporate priest, where it is clear that he has no interest has in the conversation. We see it as an informal service where you can spar with someone who is at home in the gray area, where good and evil are sometimes difficult to distinguish from each other.”

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Do you believe that there is real enthusiasm for this from the business community?

Brockhus: “Everyone bumps into something in their working life. When it comes to questions of conscience, ethical dilemmas and questions of life, who do you turn to? There is often a certain culture within a company and you may not be used to having these kinds of conversations with your immediate environment.”

Röselaers: “In the past, people often went to a house of faith to think about meaning, but for many the church is no longer a place for that. We want to fill that void.”

“Not everyone has to be open to this, of course.c

Author: Jobly