top of page

Employee resource group movement | webinar panel

As a part of their diversity and inclusion initiatives, many companies have, or are working on establishing employee resource groups in support of under-represented and marginalized communities within their organizations. Some of the objectives and benefits of creating an ERG is to attract and retain a diverse talent pool, support mentorship and succession planning initiatives, leadership training and development, to tackle bias, assure pay equity, and, at a macro level, position a company as an employer of choice in their respective industry. Many ERGs have been successful while others have fallen short on delivering the desired impact and ROI. During this panel discussion, attendees will hear from experts on how to establish a successful and sustainable ERG, how to build short term and long term budgets with an associated ROI, how to gain executive-level buy-in and sponsorship and how to design an over-arching global organization while addressing regional differences. Attendees will walk away inspired with a list of actionable items that can be immediately deployed to design, support and expand internal ERG initiatives.


Chitra Rajeshwari COP | Executive Director Avasant Foundation 0:00

Welcome and good morning, everyone. Good afternoon. Good evening, depending on where you are in the world. Joining us today, I am very proud to introduce a very important discussion from the women empowerment and leadership chapter called the employee resource group movement. hour. Our panelists and our moderator have worked very hard to put this discussion together. And I'm very excited to introduce our moderator for today's conversation. Heidi Solomon, she's the Vice President of global sales for V xi, and she's also a wealth chapter part of the leadership team. And our distinguished panelists are Bronwyn justice, she is the senior financial analyst at CB Ra. And she also leads the African American network group, conference chair for CB Ra. And then we have Cathy Lewis clapper, who is the chief HR officer for knowledge and health. And lastly, we have Neelam to Hahn, who is the inclusion and diversity leader for Honeywell, I'm sure we are, we are all excited to hear what you have to say. And I'm sure it's going to be a very interesting and a lot of learning conversation here. So without any ado, I hand it over to Heidi to moderate, thank you so much.

Heidi Solomon-Orlick | Vice President Global Sales VXI 1:29

Thank you Chitra. For the for the kind introduction. I'm very excited to have this this distinguished panel as part of our discussion today. So just to sort of level set for everybody on the call, um, you know, most of you are likely aware of what Employee Resource Groups are. But just as a as a, you know, baseline. Typically, Employee Resource Groups are also also known as affinity groups are intended to celebrate diversity, their voluntary employee led collectives designed to foster diverse and inclusive workplaces to promote equity and workplace mobility. You know, some of the other benefits that we've seen, is inclusive of the development of future leaders, increased employee engagement and expanded marketplace reach. Interestingly enough, according to a report that was recently released, a reported 90% of Fortune 500, companies have IR DS, some are effective, and some, frankly, are not as effective as they could be. So today, our esteemed panel will discuss what they are doing, and what they advise to create a meaningful, meaningful energies within their organizations that can help transform their computers, your company or their companies. So with that, thank you again to the panelists for joining. And I'm just going to kick off with a few questions. So this will be for all three of the panelists. But if if you would, please describe the work that you're doing today, across the various yardies in in your organizations, that would be great. Bronwyn, why don't we start with you.

Bronwyn Justice | Financial Analyst CBRE 3:33

Thank you for having me. I'm quite honored to be a part of this panel. And I am hopeful that I will learn something and have something to take away to my organization as well. Currently, I serve as the conference chair for the African American network group for CBR ri, which is a commercial real estate services company. I've been connected with the ER g group since 2010. And I'm also a member of, we have seven groups. I'm also member of the Women's Network group, Asia Pacific group, the LGBT q group. And I share that because I do my my work, my sweat equity, my my service, my gifts are with the afro American network group. But I'm also a member of those groups so that I can be connected to the organization and take advantage of the professional development and networking opportunities that the other groups make available at my company. Anyone can be a part of any networking group, even if you don't identify with that particular group. So for ang in particular, we have aligned our goals with three of cbrs corporate strategies. So that's how we fit overall into the business. And those three strategies are Client outcomes top talent and culture. So when we strategize and come up with our plan, as far as chapter level, the national level, and then what we are going to do on the conference level, those strategies serve as our guide as to what we will offer our members.

Unknown Speaker 5:23

Perfect. Thanks. I know we're gonna get a lot deeper into that, during our conversation today as well, caskey would you like to share?

Caskie Lewis-Clapper 5:32

Sure, and my lens is a lens, really of creating workforce capability for Magellan. And so we have a strategy around ensuring we're doing that, which necessarily means the CNI is very important to us. The work that we do in this area really is, is and continues to grow in visibility with every function. So it talent acquisition with talent management, with analytics and compensation with rubber hits the road work that we're doing within business unit. So that the piece the ER GPS really came to life for us when we launched Facebook at work, and made a conscious decision to support grassroots efforts. And we've had some really terrific and energetic and passionate groups formed from this. And we're working with those groups to learn, and to make sure that the strategic infrastructure we're putting in place to create sustainable change in the workforce capability that we're building is is helping it they're helping to shape that basically. That's awesome. Thank you and Yulin.

Neelam Chohan Inclusion and Diversity Leader Honeywell 6:52

Sure. And so similarly to my fellow panelists, we also have really embed er G's into our ind strategy. And we consider them to be our strategic partners. And this is a big pillar for us at Honeywell. And essentially, as a strategic partner, they are really helping to align and drive our ind strategic agenda and initiatives. Our args are actually called employee networks. And we really leverage them and empower them to be engaged in a number of activities within our strategy, Viet driving talent, attraction, talent, retention and development, they certainly are a strong community and support group, and leveraging that network to really connect our employees across 110 plus 1000. Organization worldwide, it's a, it's quite a task. And so having these employee that works is a is a great way for us to connect people. And really build these mentoring and coaching communities that help to drive our agenda to various initiatives aligned to our overall global strategy. And so we focus on them as talent pools of resources, we connect them to our inclusion diversity councils, and through that, they really are helping to get a lot of the work done, as well as supporting these employee networks, with their strategies and things that are their top priorities.

Unknown Speaker 8:34

Perfect, perfect. And I know, both caskey nealon. As we were prepping for today's meeting, you had talked a lot about how there, a lot of these groups came from a grassroots effort, but there was also some overlying corporate objectives. Would you be willing to address that and how you support that? taski? What?

Unknown Speaker 9:04

Sure. Sure. So, you know, essentially, from a strategy perspective, one of the spokes of that strategy is ensuring that we're leveraging voice of our team members. And the just to give you an example of a group that has just made a lasting impact on me, are women in technology. Energy is, is a group that got together, a couple of amazing women did a zoom video, and broadcasted out to the company and in that video, they just had an really informal dialogue about what they wanted to try to accomplish with this group. And the response was just amazing. And the editor In the passion, if you go on workplace and read the strings, it's, you can't not have a huge smile on your face and just see amazing things happen. And it's not just a feel good. And I connect, although that's, it was so clear, there was a void, and it helped them fill that void. They invited people from all over the company men and women necessarily, to have a diverse group of employees to be able to share thoughts and ideas on how to champion the kinds of things they were working to make happen. And it really evolved into something with teeth in a good way. Launching a mentoring program, sponsoring development programs, you know, doing, getting involved with steam, having speakers and lunch and learns, and, and even the more simple things like posting an article and the energy that that that generates for folks who can resonate with something in there. So the women and Technology Group for me, was really a strong and powerful influence in my thoughts around how we integrate what folks are telling us and what they're experiencing, and what they're demonstrating. And the strategies that we have in place, and, and frankly, have had in place for, you know, years and years and years and years. And the question is, how do you bust up those mental models and rethink those. So if you don't have enough women in technology, let's take a look at the position descriptions. How are we writing those? How are we recruiting for those roles? What are we doing when folks are on boarded? How are we creating a forum for them and success for them? and and the the W it, er g really, I think has helped us think about everything we're doing from a systemic perspective differently. So it's, it's been an amazing experience in it, it is grass roots, it is energy of people who care about this and want to make something happen in my experiences, that's typically when you're able to change the world in some way.

Unknown Speaker 12:24

Yeah, I love that. Did that grassroots effort spark other initiatives within the company, other affinity groups or?

Unknown Speaker 12:34

Absolutely. One of one of the ones that comes to mind is a affinity group called we can, which is really sort of tackling the the barriers that we put in front of ourselves in accomplishing things and really learning to think differently about what we can accomplish. And you know, dealing with things like the the impersonator syndrome, so, yeah, so other things have come out of that. That's awesome. And now about you neelum. Um, well, I

Unknown Speaker 13:08

think that one of the critical areas of focus for for the ind strategy here was, how do we how to empower our args that have, you know, a lot of them were at grassroots level, and really organically grown. But I also when I came into the role and talking to some of these args, you know, they felt that they were probably operating very much in silo. And what was important for them was, you know, the executive sponsorship, the, the visibility to what they're doing, and also the, the support, as well as the allies, that can help make change happen. And so, purposefully, we, we shaped the way that our er G's are operating. And so now they are very much structured under a inclusion and diversity network has actually had we have an infrastructure in place where they have that support, so they don't feel like they're working in silo and, you know, sometimes it can lead to fatigue. And I just feel like I'm on this hamster wheel and we're doing all this great work, but is it having an impact on our numbers? Is it having an impact on increasing females in leadership positions or mentoring and sponsorship, and really helping the members make change happen and and so a lot of the strategy was, you know, around how do we empower, provide structure and also provide them with leadership and cross visibility across all of our organization and our businesses. So those that work grassroots, we've given them some structure and then we've also designed and created some employee networks actually from scratch. And those are really designed with leaders that are influential in their respective businesses. So we have five businesses across the region. So we wanted to make sure that there's the right influential leaders in place who are actually going to help lead and steer the direction of the ER G's, but also can connect back to the businesses and be there be that that that intermediary that brings the sponsorship, the leadership buyer, and whether it's budgets and funding, but really aligning what they're what they're trying to achieve, to to the business needs and showcase some of the great things that are going on, and how this is a pool of talent that actually can help business grow, for their expertise, and also because they actually look like the customers that we serve. And so we really did a combination of allowing them to organically grassroot but then we designed them and pull them into the overarching strategy, so that we could actually help empower the cheese are they doing?

Unknown Speaker 16:15

That's great. And Bronwyn, you know, you're involved in a lot of different groups within your organization, perhaps you can share with our listeners, that, from your perspective, what are some of the key drivers to successful deployment of your GS within an organization.

Unknown Speaker 16:35

So the first thing is top down support. And at my company, we definitely have our CEO is extremely supportive of our er g groups. And not just and name only when we have a events on the local level, I sit here in Dallas, Texas, and he sits here as well. He has attended er G, events for the Asia Pacific network group, he was at a lunch and learn, he has been at almost all of our conferences for the African American network group. So he is there he is present. His executive leaders that serve as sponsors are also on board. So I think that's number one, you have to have your executive team on board for the args. And then from the perspective of working inside, you just encourage those that serve in leadership positions. Encourage them not to be discouraged, have them understand that they need to have a positive outlook on things. be critical thinkers, because of the budget is not there, you have to be able to figure out a way to accomplish your goals, despite that, Roadblock, and then have a strategy mindset, always be thinking three or four steps ahead of what you can do to keep the ball rolling for and then work with what you have until you get where you want to be. So that's what I would say are some of the six key success drivers that I have found personally working with big organizations.

Unknown Speaker 18:22

That's awesome. And, Neil, I'm, I'm curious, you mentioned earlier, you know, some of the items that you look at in terms of success measurement. Maybe you and caskey could address, you know, what are some of the areas that you look at in terms of delivering a return on investment for the ER G's within the organization?

Unknown Speaker 18:49

Sure, I can I can start I think for from the outset, when we started to pull together the infrastructure and the strategy around our employee networks. There was a clear direction that we need to ensure that all of our args have you know, direction in terms of what's your purpose? Are you an inclusive network? What's your overall objectives? Why are those your objectives? You know, what some of the priority areas that you want to drive? And then how are we going to measure success? And that could come in in many ways. You know, some of the things that we've been looking at is, are your initiatives driving the outcomes that we need, be it attracting diverse talent to the organization so your events, your conference activities, your campus hiring activities, your strategic, external partnering and community and community outreach? Let's see how that's coming back into the organization. Are we having an impact on our social media strategies that we are working on with our ears jeans, be it, you know, more impressions on our sites, more direct traffic coming to our career site are people applying for positions through an event or an engagement or social campaign, that's a great way to start to see how this is the word is going out both inside the organization's network or and also externally. I think the other thing is, is how is this affecting our metrics as an organization, be it? Are we hiring more talent? Are we seeing more promotions into leadership positions? Do we see retention, you know, is there a reduced turnover? Are we really retaining the members that are coming into these networks, because now they feel that they have a place where they belong, they have that community and that support structure. And so these are some of the things hard metrics, as well as some of the softer ones that really can help us to see what we are doing is driving the change and moving the needle. And it all really stems from clear chances objectives and understanding how we're going to measure success. Perfect cascade, did you want to add anything to that?

Unknown Speaker 21:16

To our I mean, absolutely consistent with what we've just heard. And I think, if they look at it from a big picture, success means innovative, best in class results for our customers and our members. So that we're, you know, leveraging our workforce to be able to create amazing things in the healthcare marketplace. I think that if you back back up from that, you're looking at hitting goals around, you know, for example, women in technology, we want to, we want to attract more women to the technology team, we want to see them continue to be promoted, we want to see that the VP and above to be reflective of that, right? Similar to all diversity initiatives around making sure that your employee base is a mirror of the customers and members you're providing services to, I'm going to throw I'm gonna throw that if you I'm sorry, just one more thing. And then backing into just pure er G. You know, our the goal initially was to get people engaged, to get them connected, and to have it be an active group, and to have great outputs from the goals that they set around mentoring and leadership and, and speakers and that sort of thing. So

Unknown Speaker 22:39

that's perfect. I'm going to throw a little curveball question out there. Just as a part of that, because as you were speaking, cascade sort of triggered a thought on a, you know, as a part of that, are you also integrating bias training? You know, as you look to attract more women in tech as an example, right, sometimes bias plays a factor in terms of hiring, we see it in the call center all the time, right? for tech support programs. No. Like they tend to trend towards hiring men, even though women are equally as capable of handling it. So I just I'm throwing that out to the group. Actually, if that's something that you looked at, as well.

Unknown Speaker 23:27

I certainly can take a stab at that. And then I would love to hear from others. I you know, we have offered bias training as part of our normal leadership, correct curriculum. I think that it is, it can be very powerful for helping individuals and teams. And I think that it's not okay, just to say you're doing it and check a box, and we're done. I also know that there's been a lot of research on bias training, not overtime, making as much of a difference, and I believe it is, because it makes the difference with the individual learner, or with the group or community that's working together on it. But it takes time for that to take hold if you don't have it connected into, like you said, all of the things that you're doing as an organization to drive change with your workforce. So we we have this concept called minimi, which is that the tendency to hire people who are exactly like the folks who are leaving a role, which we're really trying to bust up and say no, if we want to change our outputs and change the way we're thinking and continue to innovate and grow and compete in this marketplace, we need to hire for different things. So just to give that example, that's the definitely the past that we've been headed down. That's a great example Bronwyn are kneeling. Would you like to add anything to that?

Unknown Speaker 24:55

Yeah, I mean, I would say from from our perspective, I had a great quote the other day and it was around, you know, diverse people should not solely be responsible for diversity. And I think it really resonates. Because, you know, when we look at inclusion and diversity groups or conversations, a lot of it is almost a burden on the diverse individual. How do you get your leaders buy in? How do you remove bias in the workplace? How are you driving your careers, and I agree that that absolutely is part of something that sponsors Percy. But the focus really, from from our perspective is we want to build an inclusive culture, one where everybody has a fair and equal opportunity to be successful. And therefore, we all need to work towards that shared goal as an organization, be it managers, individual contributors, leaders, executives, and employees across the board. And so how are we going to embed inclusion and diversity into our cultural DNA has to be really fed into all our processes and our systems and our day to day. And so I almost think that the, you know, removing the word diversity and actually making it more practical and tangible, removing the word bias, and actually embedding it into practical and tangible has really proven to make a difference. And so an example of that would be, you know, as you as you embark on the hiring process, reinforcing and sending triggers and reminders on the importance of bringing in diverse thinking, and as an organization going through transformation and change in innovation, how to think about the talent you're bringing into the organization to drive that shared goal has, I think it's a slight pivot on the language and the way that we, we tried conversation with the same outcome. And so I think, you know, bias training in itself is not going to necessarily change an individual. But a program that's really holistic and embedded in all our processes systems, which includes bias and includes all the other things that are needed, does drive that change. So that's the way we're looking at it.

Unknown Speaker 27:26

Great, and I can add to that, as well. And our company, our diversity, inclusion leadership team, that sit on the people side of the business, they really come out with something simple, where all employees can, can understand how they can contribute to busting up some of the bias behaviors that happen, conscious and unconscious, and just what society has, quote upon us as as Americans and as people. And that is, include everyone, because when you are inclusive, diversity will happen. So that's a great quote, make sure that you are looking around, and who have you left out Who have you not included. And that's who you need to focus on. And that's who you need to bring to the table. That's who you need to invite to the party, and not just invite them to the party, but ask them to dance. And if they can't dance, show them how to dance. And that will drive the diversity.

Unknown Speaker 28:47

And so Bronwyn, I'm just to extend that. I'm curious as to how, you know, as you create global er, G's, how do you account for some regional differences? So you know, you have your global affinity groups, but then, you know, you may have, you know, a group in Europe or in the US or, you know, around community outreach as an example, they may want to focus on different areas. So how do you, how do you go about approaching that?

Unknown Speaker 29:20

So CBR is a global company, and we are a real estate business. And so real estate is is extremely localized. So that is our mindset. So what works for real estate, for a broker in New York, you cannot do the same thing and it's not gonna work. So that's kind of the same concept we have applied to our network groups or your G's. And so for consistency purposes there for the top level, there's consistency as far as the leaders and structures around budgeting and things of that nature. But on the local level, to be truly effective, you have to do what works for that particular level, an example would be, we may have, like for that American network group in Florida, we don't have a huge presence of African American employees. So that would be an area where we would probably want to have a virtual chapter. So people can be connected to the energy. But in Texas, we have a large concentration of employees where we can form a chapter and be effective, and go out and serve the community and do things like that. So I have a friend who's she's like one of the smartest people I know. And, and in one of our talks, she told me, you know, don't the golden rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And she says, she really doesn't follow that she says, really get to know people, and treat them the way they want to be treated. So as leaders, you have to listen to your EOG members. And that may be a little longer way to accomplish your goals, but really listen to them and what their needs are, and then let that be your guide.

Unknown Speaker 31:22

Perfect. Anyone else like to add to that? No. All right. So Neela, one of the and all three of you have actually mentioned this, but maybe we can dig a little bit deeper into getting executive buy in. So how did you how did you approach that, in terms of, you know, involving the senior leadership team getting their buy in, which ultimately results in getting budget allocated? Right?

Unknown Speaker 31:57

Yeah, absolutely. I think the, the first thing that organizations need to recognize is that driving inclusion and diversity does not sit with HR. It does not stick with the ideal leader, you know, we provide the structure, the framework, best practices, but it really has to sit within the business. And as part of our er g strategy, we wanted to have our args really empowered and supported within the business by leadership. And so as part of our infrastructure, we we built inclusion and diversity councils, led by very senior executives in the business that would drive together with the other leaders from each part of that this is the strategy, the initiatives, the actions. And as part of that, they would also be sponsors that support and govern their args so that they are all working towards the same shared goal. And so instead of it being a bottom up approach, it became suddenly a top down in the sense that, Oh, well, we've got great opportunity here with our employee networks. And so, you know, our strategies around we want to have more females in leadership positions, or we want to ensure that we're driving community outreach programs. Oh, great. Well, here's your networks. And it's a huge amount of members there that are ready and willing and able. And so it became more of a pool versus a pot. And it's worked very well, because it became the leaders strategy. And therefore they actually came and approach employee networks to make things happen.

Unknown Speaker 34:08

That's great. And actually, we got a question from one of our listeners today. And it's a it's a, it's very timely question, actually, to tag on to this conversation. So this is from from jag, who's a semi retired male executive who's completely on board, by the way. But he says that the panelists mentioned the key role executives play in creating the right culture and corporate view on this topic, but unfortunately, more than 50% of senior executives are male, could be even higher than that. So that means, you know, a group of male executives have to lead this effort, not just be the champion. So the question is, what do you think and what are the steps that were you're taking to Get the male, not only the executive teams, but the male leaders within the company involved?

Unknown Speaker 35:09

Well, I would, I would completely agree with that. And it goes back to the point of having the white allies. We have eight inclusion and diversity councils across our whole organization to our businesses and our regions. And I believe the number is now four of those eight are actually led by male executives. And it goes back to diverse people solely cannot be responsible for driving inclusion and diversity. And so having male executives, these are, you know, very influential leaders, and they are fantastic allies. That really are they understand what we're trying to do they understand the business case, they they're very on board with the the efforts, and a lot of that is because it's all coming down from our CEO. And so as an organization, we are holding ourselves accountable. And that accountability is very much coming from the very top. Perfect koski would you like to add to that

Unknown Speaker 36:21

door. And along the same lines, we actually have what we call a heat map. And my experiences when you compare people's outputs or results in a team setting, they tend to want to make great things happen. So we at let me just back up for a second, I think it's a really great question. And I wouldn't be honest, if I didn't say that I spent most of my life trying to figure this out. And we'll probably spend the rest of my life working to figure out how to continue to drive change. First and foremost, I think we've got to choose our organizations carefully. There may be some organizations where it's just too difficult for one individual to make the change, they need to change. And sometimes they think you got to call it and just choose differently. And I think that ultimately, that's what's happening all over. And organizations who aren't open to considering a different way, are very naturally having more and more and more difficulty recruiting great people. Secondly, I would say no matter what organization I've ever been in, I don't wait for executive support. Life is too short, it's something I have to work on in parallel, always no matter what role I'm in. But the net is, there are so many things we can impact without waiting for an executive to say, Okay, I support that there's so much that we can do. And so I wouldn't wait for executive support, I would absolutely continue to champion it and drive it in parallel with whatever you're doing. And third, just had positive experience meeting executives where they are understanding what's important to them. And with very few exceptions, have I been unable to get to a place where they want to make the right changes happen for an organization and to get the results that we need. And this is, this is not a nice to do thing. If we can't innovate, we won't be able to compete in the marketplace. And if you don't have a diverse and inclusive workforce, you won't be able to innovate period. So those are just a couple thoughts that I have.

Unknown Speaker 38:53

Right? That's awesome. And, and Bronwyn, you mentioned that, you know, CBR re has a male CEO, but he seems also very involved in drgs. Correct,

Unknown Speaker 39:05

right. Yes. Um, he actually serves as the executive sponsor for a Women's Network group. And

Unknown Speaker 39:20

that's fantastic. And I think we have to be careful not to assume because an executive as a male that they aren't huge champion for what we're driving.

Unknown Speaker 39:29

Right. And he has an open door policy he he is an executive that has made an intentional decision, and this is what I heard with my own ears as part of his role with the company to be connected to the people, so he will answer your emails. If you want time with him, he makes that a priority. That's just one one of his things that he makes a priority and so is related to the ER G's You see his support, it's not a talking point, it's not a box that he's checking, he is actually putting in the work for the organizations.

Unknown Speaker 40:10

Perfect. So we've heard a lot of the great things that y'all are doing and, you know, across your organization's but I'm sure as we as these evolve and grow, that there have been some mistakes that have been made, would you be willing to share some of your key learnings as you've evolved these er G's across your organization kaski one want to want to kick off?

Unknown Speaker 40:41

Sure we experienced early on and we're all kind of new to this, just simply because it's been just about two years since we've launched the technology tool to be able to support the energies, bias training, and the need to do that, and the desire to do that, and a very passionate group that had a local vendor that they wanted to engage in that. And, of course, we offer bias training from an infrastructure perspective overall as part of our learning curriculum. And so we had folks in the learning team who had curated that content. And folks in the local team who wanted to bring in this vendor, which was different content, and there was some disagreement around around that. I also think there was a lot of sort of mental modeling, model shifting going on, right, because you have a kind of mature organization where you've got leadership that's used to, in a learning environment, curating the content. At the same time, you're trying to champion voice, and ensuring that everything we're doing is reflective of, of our team members, experience experiences and lens and the benefit of their input. So we went through a lot to try to figure out well, okay, there are things that might be happening with the center that we are supportive of as an organization, what do we do with that, and then in really coming up with partnering to work together to bring this vendor and and to do an event. So but it was a, it was bumpy. And I think we made good come of it. And we learned a lot. And I'm sure we have a lot more to learn. But that would be an example I could share that we just went through, you know, probably about a year ago.

Unknown Speaker 42:51

Yeah, that's a great example. neelum, how about how about your organization? Um, I would say that some, some of the common mistakes is, is really about who, who's who, in the zoo, I guess. And so what I mean by that is, with respect is, is, you know, we have a lot of very passionate people that spend a lot of their personal time, energy and effort in this space, and do a lot of great work to support their mission, and especially in ER G's, and it's very well recognize and add more. But at the same time, I think what we need to look for is that we have the right leaders. Because if you haven't just a lot of passionate people, but it doesn't have the date and the direction, there's no clear objectives and purpose. And it's not aligned to the strategies, all the things we just talked about today are going to be a struggle, the buy in the light, the leadership, the executive support, the budgets, and making change happen. So I think that, you know, a lot of the mistakes I've seen is that this person is very, very passionate and energetic about it wonderful. Let's give them a an assigned role. And this is what they will be doing. But are they going to be the right leader to make change happen? And I know that that could sometimes be an uncomfortable conversation. But we have to get very comfortable with a comfortable nurse in this space. And you know, it's really making sure that the right people are bored, because there's a lot of work to do in this space. And we wonder why we weren't the right. Leaders there. Yeah. Right. So Bronwyn.

Unknown Speaker 45:02

So that I'm going to kind of echo some of the same things that have already been said. But I've learned from all of my mistakes and now evolved for the point that I'm appreciative of my mistakes. Because as I look back, that's where the best lessons have been learned and what has stuck with me most. And I think that is true for the ER g organizations as well. So at this point, we recently had like a round table with a lot of the diversity leads in the company. And one of the things that was common amongst the group was about leadership, and, and making sure that you are putting the correct people in place. So, for me, I would like to personally take more time to truly understand the motive of people that that wish to serve in a leadership capacity, or that would accept an appointment to serve in a leadership capacity. And, you know, in addition to the passion, they need to have the skill set, and a servant's heart and the desire to, you know, be excellent in everything that they do. And because when you put the wrong person in the position, it slows you down on executing on your vision on your goals. And sometimes it takes the focus away from the group, because you have those that are not contributing, and the way that it's needed for the organization to move forward. So just really slowing down and being more conscious about the folks that you put in various positions to so make sure it's correct.

Unknown Speaker 46:57

And that's hard, because most of these are volunteer positions, right? So how, you know, what's your recommendation on how to go about that screening process? You don't want to deter the passion, right?

Unknown Speaker 47:11

Right. What has worked well, for me, because with the conference that we it's a program that has occurred. Right now we're on a biannual cadence. So working on the committee level, like, you know, that granular level, and you can see the work that people have actually put in, and then those are the ones that you go to first. Because you know, their skill set, you know, their personality, you know, that, you know, they they're operate with some integrity. So those are the ones that you would go to first and then for those that you may not have any history with, you know, you can put them somewhere, but make sure it's, it's, if it doesn't work out, and you have to take over, make sure that you have the bandwidth to do that. And if you don't, then I wouldn't recommend putting him in that position. And then you also have to create a culture of this group is a safe place, because we are here to learn. So you are going to get feedback. And if it's, it's not criticism, it's coaching. Everybody needs a coach, Michael Phelps has a coach Serena Williams has a coach Simone bows as a coach to the best of what they do, but they still need a coach. So if you get feedback, it's it's because it's coming from a good place in our heart, and we want you to be better. So just creating that environment where if they aren't performing up to par, then if they do get feedback, they're open to receiving it and then taking action upon it to improve themselves.

Unknown Speaker 49:05

Yeah, which is a reflection of their leadership skills anyway. Right, which, that's great. Yeah, and then Okay, so one last question for the panel. Um,

Unknown Speaker 49:17

you know, if you could give one piece of advice to our listeners, you know, it'd be more than one, but if you know, that they could take away if they're in the process of creating any rd within their organization or expanding any RG that they could deploy immediately to effect change. So caskey do you want to start?

Unknown Speaker 49:50

Sure. So I think I would say try and fail and try something else. I think that we put pressure on ourselves to need things to be perfect, or at least I have in my past. And typically, when something's perfect, there's something that's really wrong. So I am a huge proponent of being a learner, and benefit from people who are kind enough and courageous enough to help me learn. So I really get a lot of energy from just trying things, not irresponsibly. But taking risk, smart risk, to try to make something different happen and occur and be sustainable. So I think I've been working really hard to learn how to fail, and to see that as something that will help me get better, and help me change an environment in a very different way. So that's your, if that makes sense. But just learning to not need it to be perfect. And do something Neelam How about you?

Unknown Speaker 51:09

I think everything that we've just talked about with the last hour, certainly, you know, some of the things that that we should take away from this conversation, you know, make sure you have the right leaders make sure that your team, the core team, for any er g are influential, they have clear purpose objectives and understand what it is they're trying to improve. So their success measures there. But I would say, in addition to that, you know, we haven't necessarily talked about it so much yet, but understand the role that particularly that mid level manager has in an organization and the influence, impact and influence they have in addition to leadership and executives, but a lot of the work happens at them that that middle of an organization and work with them, what are you so clear purpose and objectives? And then what can the mid level managers of your organization do? Because when I speak to a lot of our managers, people, leaders, particularly they, they get it, they've got the buy in, and they understand what it's all about why it's a business imperative. But I get a lot of feedback on Just tell me what to do. I just don't know what you want me to do, and how can I help? And so I think when building any RG strategies and purpose that needs to be a clear part of the plan, how are we going to engage not just with leaders and executives, but how can we help spread the word and have our people leaders particularly be influenced that impact them to to work towards some of the the goals and objectives that you have? And Bronwyn,

Unknown Speaker 53:04

I would just encourage everyone to be consistent. Do not be discouraged. Take the time to celebrate the small baby steps. Take the time to learn from the missteps, because all of those baby steps and all of those missteps accumulate together. And eventually, it will be success. And you'll see the impact that you are making in the lives of others.

Unknown Speaker 53:36

That's great advice. Well, thank you to all three of our panelists today. I know I learned a lot from this discussion, and appreciate your wisdom. And with that, I'll turn it over to Phaedra or I believe Debbie Hamels,

Unknown Speaker 53:51

the IO p CO is on the phone as well. Thank you. I cheated. Do you want to say anything before I wrap it up?

Unknown Speaker 54:02

No, Debbie, you can go for it. Fantastic panel. Incredible information. So much, so much. I learned so much from the three of you really fascinating conversation. Thank you so much. And thank you, Heidi. Oh to Debbie.

Unknown Speaker 54:17

Okay, great. Thank you. Chitra. Yeah, let me add my thanks very much for everyone that joined us today. And on behalf of IoT and its global membership, a special thanks to the leadership of the women empowerment leadership and diversity chapter for their hard work and their determination and creating this timely program. It's through this dedication that we're able to offer such an array of programming live right at your desk, or you know, playback at your convenience, and to add to check his remarks. Thanks to this fantastic panel. I did learn a tremendous amount from this program. And I want to thank you for taking your time out of your incredibly busy days to share these four with Thinking insights into creating an employee resource group, why it's essential. I really honestly learned a tremendous amount er G's, I now realize, among many other reasons, connect people. And through this connection, diverse verses are heard, and amazing things happened. I'm thinking about how we might actually build on this down the road. Maybe we should have a follow up session on this sometime because there's so much more I think we can dive into. And I think as we move forward, this will become more and more important. So should you wish to learn more about creating an ER j, I'm sure the speakers on this panel as well as this chapter leadership team, we welcome your comments and your input. So feel free to reach out to any one of the chapter leaders or to me and we can get you connected. Don't forget the program will be available online. So you can replay it, share it with your networks, some of your colleagues, and let's just get involved. This chapter is a very important one is a very popular one. And you have an opportunity to hear your voice heard. So thanks again. Have a wonderful day. Thank you so much.

Transcribed by


Recent Posts

See All

"In 'The Startup Balance,' watch a tech founder and a business-minded employee learn to harmoniously blend innovation and stability with the help of a wise mentor. Discover the key to startup success

Thank You for Visiting Everything Neurodiversity!

Hello, Thank you for visiting Everything Neurodiversity. This site is a passion project of mine. The hosting costs are minimal and I try to dedicate time to it whenever I can. I intend to keep this site as educational and ad free. 

I have learned a great deal from working on this site and the social platforms that go along with it. So much that I have started another site dedicated to building a more sustainable and easier fashion shopping expiereince. It has recently been selected for sponsorship in the Microsoft Founders Hub Program and I'm excited for the new developments this will enable. The first 10,000 users who make a purchase through the site will get lifetime Premier Status enabling rewards up to 17%! Check it out here: RunwayRewards.Shop or browse the integrated page below: 

popular posts




HR Resources