Corporate chaplains are becoming more and more popular as corporate leaders realize the value of providing spiritual care and guidance for their employees. Bob Funk Sr., chairman, CEO and president of Express Employment Professionals, moved Express employee Debbie Christian from her role as a volunteer chaplain to a full-time chaplaincy post at the company. Funk discusses the decision in a recent interview:
Q: What made you decide that your company needed a full-time chaplain?
A: Because we saw the need. The program was borne out of a desire to serve the spiritual needs, as well as to provide comfort and support for our franchisees and employees.
Q: When did Debbie Christian start as chaplain?
A: Debbie Christian started serving as a chaplain in a volunteer role in 2012; while continuing her position on the event team at Express Employment Professionals. The chaplaincy position was made full-time in March 2013. Debbie is available to employees any time a need may arise, after hours and on weekends.
Q: What kind of attributes did you hope the chaplain would exhibit?
A: One who is nurturing, compassionate and possesses a high level of confidentiality, as well as someone who has completed chaplaincy training through a recognized religious body.
Q: How did your employees respond to the hiring of a chaplain?
A: The franchisees and employees have been ecstatic about having someone available to communicate with and to help and comfort them in time of need — someone they can call upon 24/7. If they have nowhere else to turn, or they simply need someone to pray with them, or they need someone in whom to confide, they know our chaplain is available.
The program has been well received.
Q: How has the new chaplain affected your workplace?
A: Our international headquarters chaplain also provides family-based educational programs dealing with such topics as Alzheimer's, aging parents and addiction, as well as a monthly devotional and prayer time.
These are not required events, but are available for any employees who wish to participate. Through the chaplaincy program, Debbie has been able to serve our employees which help them take better care of our franchisees and clients.