Why Employee Resource Groups Still Matter
Originally posted on www.bloomberg.com.
This article is written by Erika Irish Brown, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Bloomberg LP.
A few weeks ago, employee resource groups took center stage in the diversity and inclusion conversation, characterized as passé and irrelevant.
I couldn’t disagree with that assessment more.
Employee networks, employee resource groups, business resource groups or communities (as we refer to them at Bloomberg) — I don’t care what they are called; I believe these groups are an important part of any holistic, global diversity and inclusion strategy. Despite any flaws in names and naming conventions, the objectives and functions they fulfill should be a priority for all employees who care about talent, culture and business performance.
Depending on the industry — and the company — the grass roots elements of ERGs often lay the groundwork for global diversity and inclusion strategies. Many formed organically out of the need for people of difference to feel a sense of belonging and create relationships with people of similar backgrounds. These forums offered support, understanding, information and resource sharing that would hopefully ensure participants’ collective success. At their most basic, these organizations provided necessary “safe spaces” at a crucial time, when people of difference weren’t comfortable being seen together and supporting each other within office walls. Sanctioned or not, these “safe spaces” and support systems made all the difference in the world — and since then, they have evolved into much, much more.
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