At this point, there should be no question as to whether diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are important to an organization’s success. Cash flow at companies with diverse teams is 2.3 times higher. Diverse companies are 70% more likely to capture new markets than peers who don’t specifically recruit underrepresented talent. Companies with above-average diversity also have 19% higher innovation revenues. Diversity is important to job-seekers as well, with 7 out of 10 saying that they consider the company’s commitment to diversity when evaluating a potential employer.
Despite all of the evidence to support the business case however, there isn’t a great deal of information readily available on how to actually be successful at DEI. The majority of DEI work occurs in silos inside individual companies, and many employees working to advance DEI within their team or department go unrecognized and unsupported. Perhaps a consultant and/or trainer is brought in a couple times per year, but ultimately, succeeding at DEI requires a sustained and multi-pronged strategy that can’t be achieved through one-off initiatives.
Moreover, for all the talk about DEI, particularly during 2020, there are very few organizations that work across all areas and populations to foster true inclusion for every employee. While there are many organizations that seek to advance women, some that focus on BIPOC and/or LGBTQIA+ folx, and others with even more specialized populations such as veterans, there isn’t a one-stop shop where companies can go to access information that cuts across demographics. This is only the case until 1/1/2021, though. That’s when the Global ERG Network launches.
Why our current approach to DEI can never succeed
Out of all of the employee indicators businesses strive to achieve, true diversity, equity, and inclusion has been one of the most elusive. Want to increase employee productivity? There’s an app for that. Institute more frequent check-ins, entrust your teams with more responsibility, ensure your office environment is optimized or that employees have what they need to make their work from home setups functional, etc. The list of best practices drags on. Want to increase retention? Improve your benefits offerings, offer better work-life balance, etc.; here too, there are myriad software solutions and well-studied best practices.
While the DEI tech solution market is expanding, and while there are patches of best practices consolidated on static websites around the Internet, DEI actually cuts across many of the other employee indicators making it very difficult to ‘solve’ with software. You can’t break down centuries of systemic bias and teach people empathy and instill them with life experiences other than their own through a few lines of code. You can’t do that with unlimited lines of code. DEI requires concerted human-to-human work on a daily basis to truly see change, because it has to happen within each individual in order to drive lasting impact.
DEI also isn’t a job responsibility that can be assigned to just one person. There is a reason that the Chief Diversity Officer role has such high turnover. These individuals join an organization with promises of intensive support and commitment from leadership, and then they’re left to unravel the infinite, complex, very human issues of bias entirely on their own. This is often compounded by the company providing them with only a very limited set of resources, almost always amidst unattainable expectations. Real inclusion cannot be built on the back of one individual, or even one team. It requires the entire organization to get behind it; in other words, it takes a village.
How the Global ERG Network seeks to change all of that
Employee resource groups are effectively the street team for most companies’ DEI efforts. They’re the boots on the ground, the ones in the trenches, doing the work every day. They’re the ones truly making a difference and driving inclusion on the individual employee level in a way that no Chief Diversity Officer or HR team can. Up until now, resource group leaders were largely left to their own devices. After speaking to many ERG, BRG, and Diversity Council leaders and members, we learned that there’s a lot of Googling happening amidst high levels of burnout and minimal support or recognition. Part of the problem is that companies simply don’t know how to do better by their resource groups. Luckily, in partnership with Talent Dimensions, we’ve built a platform to revolutionize all of that.
The Global ERG Network (GEN) is the first constantly evolving, 24/7 community for ERGs, BRGs, and Diversity Councils to network and learn across the globe. It’s packed full of best-in-class resources, exclusive events, and much more. Plus, it comes with real-time analytics so we can finally demonstrate the true value and ROI of DEI at scale. The digital-first experience is highly customizable, empowering every company to build future-proof diversity, equity, and inclusion programs grounded in data and best practices.
GEN launches on 1/1/2021, but in advance of that we’re holding a couple of webinars to enable folx to learn more and see if membership might be a fit for them. If you’ interested in equipping your resource groups with the tools they need to succeed, in order to build real, lasting inclusion for every employee, consider attending during one of the following times:
If you can’t make it, don’t worry; we’ll be posting both the presentation and the question and answer sessions for later reference. If you have questions in the meantime, feel free to check out our brief informational page at erg.workrowd.com or contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re excited to build this movement with you.