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Using Employee Resource Groups to Support Diversity

Using Employee Resource Groups to Support DiversityDiversity within the organization enables for a variety of benefits, including creativity and innovation in:

  • Solving problems of the business
  • New products and services for customers

Additionally, diversity enables for better meeting the needs of customers – who are often diverse themselves.
One method to support diversity within the organization is through encouraging and supporting employee resource groups. Employee resource groups are groups of employees with similar backgrounds. Many organizations create these groups around identifies such as:

  • Gender
  • Sexual identity
  • Race
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Disability

Although employee resource groups may be set up around specific identities, they do not discriminate against others joining from within the organization. For example, a male might join (or attend meetings of) a women specific group to learn the challenges that women face within the organization or to learn how to recruit more women for his department or workgroup.

The benefits of such groups are many and include:

  • Enabling networking among employees
  • Intelligence on how to recruit individuals of specific identity groups
  • Gain knowledge on specific challenges that certain employees face within the organization
  • Intelligence on new products or services that specific identify groups believe would benefit customers who belong of their group
  • Intelligence on how to best market to diverse customer groups
  • A sense of community and support among employees

Organizations might support employee resource groups in a variety of ways, including:

  • Providing space within the office for meetings and time during the day
  • Providing food & beverage or enabling for budgets for same
  • Ensuring executives attend meetings on occasion to show support and listen to the needs of the group
  • Providing a forum for groups to share with the rest of the organization – such as in internal newsletters or presenting at all staff/all hands meetings
  • hosting events on a quarterly or semi-annual basis that enables all groups to get together

Employee resource groups are a great opportunity for organizations to support diversity within the workplace. They enable for retaining great talent and recruiting more great talent!

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