Feeling accepted and respected at work promotes belonging, trust and innovation.
Being our authentic selves at work is important for improving wellbeing, but it is hard to do alone. Employee-led interest groups create safe spaces where people can navigate issues at the intersection of who they are and what they do.
Organizations like Google, Uber and Salesforce have facilitated Employee Resource Groups to encourage people to explore their experiences in a way that feels psychologically safe. Sometimes referred to as Affinity Groups or Diversity Groups, ERGs are employee identity or experience-based groups that build community. The groups are usually run by volunteers, though some organizations support colleagues through a percentage of paid time.
If you want to attract the best talent, you have to be intentional about presenting the organization in a way which communicates that you are serious about diversity and inclusion.
In 2014 Intel required that their interview panels include at least two women/and or members of under-represented minorities. The percentage of new hires that were women or people of color rose from 31.9% to 45.1% in two years.
In the 2017 Best Companies for Multicultural Women, seven required diverse interview panels for all new hires, including Accenture, CA Technologies, Cicso and Verizon.
Younger employees often experience less influence over work than older employees. And in a world where competitive advantage is everything, the insights of digital natives can improve strategic decision processes. Establish a group of non-executive employees that work with executives on strategic decisions.
Since 2015 the senior team at Gucci have regularly met with a shadow board of Millennials with different functions in the organization. They talk through issues the executive committee is focused on, and their insights have been described by CEO Mario Bizaari as "a wakeup call for the executives". The company's internet and digital strategies have driven 136% growth while competitors like Prada have seen sales drop in the same period. Other organizations have used shadow boards successfully to tackle problems like supply chain lead time, the digitalization of contracts and the promotion of young people into decision-making roles.