Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), also known as Business Resource Groups (BRGS) can be highly effective in establishing and maintaining a truly inclusive culture. ERGs have always been tasked with creating a sense of belonging within an organization, providing leadership development and programming, offering opportunities to volunteer in the local community, and acting as brand ambassadors for the organization. Now, companies are looking to their Employee Resource Groups to play a role in racial equity, social justice, and LGBTQ+ inclusion efforts, especially in times of significant change and crisis, and to provide leaders with guidance and understanding on how to better support those communities.
For example, as protests over the killing of George Floyd gripped the nation in the summer of 2020, members of an African-American ERG at Fifth Third Bank facilitated a series of initial discussions that paved the way for broader gatherings and a panel in which 550 employees participated to express views on civil unrest and discuss ways they thought Fifth Third could react. At U.S. Bank, a women’s ERG hosted a conference call on how to manage last fall’s school restart and balance work and life that attracted more than 3,000 listeners.
ERGs/BRGs Build and maintain cultural cohesion and enable cultural transformation according to Chief Diversity Officers
According to i4cp’s 2021 Priorities & Predictions report, based on guidance from their Chief Diversity Officer Board, as unrest related to racial and social inequities boiled over in 2020, organizations turned to employee/business resource groups (ERGs/BRGs), which were instrumental in advising and guiding meaningful response in both their organizations and the communities in which they operate.
This has compelled some companies to look at restructuring and empowering employee groups to be more effective and rewarding going forward for participants and leaders alike (i.e., dedicated on-the-clock time, administrative support, greater visibility, more resources, leadership training). There is also a small but growing movement towards compensating volunteer leaders who dedicate their time and passion to supporting their organizations while raising the visibility and engagement of their groups.
Northwell Health named America’s No. 1 health system for diversity and inclusion
For the second year in a row, Northwell Health has been named the best health system for diversity in the United States, according to the latest DiversityInc ranking of Top Hospitals and Health Systems.
New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer made the list for the ninth straight year and remained in the top spot in the 2021 DiversityInc rankings for Hospitals and Health Systems. Northwell is also recognized or ranked in four other specialty lists.
“We are extremely proud of this important recognition and also recognize this journey continues,” said Maxine Carrington, Northwell’s senior vice president and chief human resources officer. “We know that equity, diversity, and inclusion matters to our mission and is at the heart of all that we believe, value and do for our team members, patients, and communities. We believe a supportive and inclusive work environment, where everyone feels valued and included, contributes to our overall care for our patients and communities.”
Northwell Health Business Employee Resource Groups (BERGs)
The Business Employee Resource Group (BERG) program at Northwell Health was established to enhance engagement, innovation, talent development, and promote an inclusive culture ensuring the delivery of culturally sensitive quality patient care. Business Employee Resource Groups are a national best practice aligned with key business goals and objectives of the organization.
Andrea De Loney, Northwell’s Advisor, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion who manages the BERGs Program hosts an engaging discussion with several BERGs members in this inspirationalvideo.
Anthem’s Commitment to Inclusion and Diversity
Anthem is a leading health benefits company dedicated to improving lives and communities and making healthcare simpler. Through its affiliated companies, Anthem serves more than 107 million people, including approximately 43 million within its family of health plans. Anthem’s commitment to inclusion and diversity makes us a stronger organization. The company culture is essential to attracting talent that understands and connects with their consumers.
Anthem’s Associate Resource Groups
More than 10,000 associates from every corner of the organization—including nearly a quarter of Anthem’s leaders—participate in at least one of their 9 associate resource groups (ARGs). These groups offer associates meaningful opportunities to connect, collaborate and grow. They add cultural insight to Anthem’s business initiatives and help the company cultivate deep ties with its communities.
Northwell Health and Anthem – Taking ERGs/BRGs From Reactive to Strategic Podcasts
In this Two-Part episode, two experienced ERG program leaders share insights on what it takes to foster ERGs and ensure success in the eyes of employees and business leaders. The episode is entitled, Taking Employee Resource Groups from Reactive to Strategic Part 1, with Part 2 to follow in two weeks.