Advancing Belonging and Diversity in the Organization
The value of ERGs to the business goes far beyond helping to navigate a crisis—they also help drive business change.
For example, investors and politicians are beginning to hold companies accountable for increasing workplace diversity. ERGs are uniquely positioned to be partners in the efforts to cultivate a diverse executive pipeline. They’re attuned to the needs and experiences of underrepresented groups, and those insights help to develop a career development program that goes beyond traditional skills building and serves as a trusting, safe space.
That’s the idea behind the mentorship programs DevelUP, created by Black @ Workday, and Elevar, created by the Workday ERG Latinx. Elevar, which means “elevate” in Spanish, is a development program for Latinx ERG members interested in moving into executive leadership.
“Culturally, Latinx individuals come from a collectivistic culture, and they can struggle at times with how to stand out as individuals,” said Liz Valadez, global community liaison for Latinx and Workday senior program manager on strategic initiatives, during the Workday webinar on ERGs.
Also during the webinar, Cofre added that some Latinx members may not have had readily available guidance from family members and role models to help them maneuver the inner workings of corporate America. “And so the Latinx ERG is very instrumental in making sure not only that these individuals feel Workday is a safe and great place to be, but also that they are going to be successful from the very basic to the more strategic aspects of their career journey.”
As companies look to use data to gain insight and take action to further diversity in the workplace, ERGs can help make those data-driven efforts long lasting. For example, results from data from our Best Workday Survey, which is distributed to our global employees every Friday in Workday, showed the need to develop a career journey program for Asian women at the company. The career journey was created in partnership with our Asian employees, including our Asian ERGs at Workday—the East Asians ERG, KAMPI (Filipino and Pacific Islander), and Dosti (South Asian Friends at Workday)—that specifically address the unique challenges and professional obstacles encountered by Asian women in the workplace.
“We were happy to provide our perspective in ensuring the journey was uniquely focused on Asian culture,” said Mamta Suri, global liaison and Pleasanton chapter lead for Dosti and Workday senior manager, software development applications. “The content we shared was, first of all, to let them know that if our Workmates are having these specific cultural experiences, it's OK, and secondly, to help them actually embrace those differences and think of them as strengths.”
Added Valadez: “ERGs play two significant roles: They're the voice of the organization to its members, and they're also the voice of their members to the organizations. They can shed light on blind spots and create a sense of belonging and inclusion in the workplace.”
For more information about how to utilize employee resource groups as business partners, listen to our webinar, ”Supercharge Your Diversity and Inclusion Strategy with Employee Resource Groups.”
Photo: Members of Women @ Workday, a Workday employee belonging council, celebrating International Women’s Day in early March, 2020.