I’ve written about Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) previously, including how to optimize your employee resource groups. Last week I traveled to Orlando, FL to participate in the ERGs & Councils Conference with the 2019 theme of “Time for Change.” While Diversity Councils and ERGs both remain vital components of organizational diversity and inclusion strategies, they are transitioning in several ways.
Forbes recently described some of the recent developments involving the most effective ERGs:
Trends and Best Practices for ERGs
- Drive Innovation: Use ERGs and their multiple aspects of diversity (such as an employee’s visibility or invisibility, experience, function, and geographic location) as models for how to use diversity of thought to serve innovation. Encourage idea generation and crowd-sourcing efforts through ERGs, to take advantage of their unique, cross-functional, highly loyal networks.
- Global Marketing: Position ERGs as core to the cultural competency required for globalization and new market expansion. Use ERG leaders as subject matter experts, coaches, and mentors for international executive leadership, and as network builders in the new local economies and cultures.
- Supply Chain Collaboration: Explore the company’s entire ecosystem for strategic partnerships, including customers, vendors, and suppliers. For ERGs, same-industry associations can serve an important business function, channeling multiple insights, and developing critical networks.
- Leadership Development: Explore including ‘‘diversity and inclusion” competencies in performance appraisal criteria, from the highest-level of employees on down. Make sure that middle management and rising diverse talent understand how to claim credit for participating in and leading ERG.
- Re-brand ERGs as groups that can help increase business and profitability. Do not assume this is understood throughout organizations, even by ERG members and their executive sponsors. Push to position ERG stakeholders to succinctly describe the importance and significance of their contributions.
Cleveland Clinic – A Step by Step Guide for ERG Success
A highlight of the conference was a Session led by Cleveland Clinic entitled “The ABC’s of ERGs and Councils: A Step by Step Guide for Success.” DiversityInc. recognized Cleveland Clinic as one of America’s top 5 hospital systems for diversity, noting its strong employee resource groups. Diversity plays a key role at Cleveland Clinic because it affects interactions between employees and the patients and families served. As a worldwide healthcare provider, diversity and inclusion are inherent aspects of interaction with patients, employees and the global community.
Moderated by Chief Diversity Officer Le Joyce K. Naylor, the panel discussion featured Diana Gueits, Director, D & I Cleveland Clinic – ERG/DC Advisor and Donna Skurzak Director, D & I Cleveland Clinic – ERG/DC Advisor. The panelists shared the Cleveland Clinic created ERG/DC Operations Guide and the best practices for launching a successful ERG or Diversity Council. They discussed the creation process of the guide, key components and how to form a business plan for use by session attendees when they return to their workplaces.
Other sessions that stood out included:
- Learn From the Best: Honors Award Recipients Reveal their Secret for Impactful Change – American Airlines, US Bank and Texas Instruments
- Cultural Catalysts: How BERGs Contribute to Business Results – The Walt Disney Company
- The Executive Sponsor: Catalyst for Change – Bank of America, Walmart, Northwestern Mutual and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals
2019 ERG & Council Honors Award™ – For ten years, this prestigious award has recognized outstanding contributions of the top 25 U.S. ERGs, BRGs and Diversity Councils. To qualify for the ERG & Council Honors Award™, ERGs and Diversity Councils must be in operation for at least two years and have demonstrated significant contributions and achievements in four categories: Demonstrated Results; Demonstrated Management Commitment; Measurement and Accountability; and Communication and Education. This year’s award applications represented 1,079 ERGs, BRGs, Diversity Councils and their chapters. The list of 2019 Award Winners included several health providers including; Atrium Health, Cleveland Clinic, Froedtert Health, Mount Sinai and Novant Health.
Still no Employee Resource Groups or Diversity Councils at your organization despite a public commitment to diversity & inclusion? Motivated to Start an Employee Resource Group yourself? Use success practices, tailor the strategy to fit your culture and get started!