How to Start a Resource Group

By Barbara Frankel

How to Start a Resource Group

Photo by Shutterstock

FIRST STEPS

1. Decide which one or two groups are most important to your business needs.

    • Most companies start with women and Blacks because those employees are most readily identifiable.
    • Avoid having a “multicultural” or “people of color” group because different racial/ethnic demographics have different needs.

2. Create a charter template that will be consistent across all current & future groups.

    • Include relevance to your company’s business needs (recruitment, engagement, retention, promotion, marketplace/sales).
    • Ensure that charters include annual goals and metrics to assess success.

3. Call your groups “resource groups,” not affinity groups or networks.

    • Make sure their titles connect them to being part of business solutions.
    • Titles should be inclusive (“LGBT and allies”) so anyone feels comfortable joining.

LEADERSHIP

4. Find executive sponsors.

    • Sponsors should come from the highest level of the company (usually CEO’s direct reports) to ensure that groups have credibility and that senior management is aware of activities.
    • Sponsors should be cross-cultural whenever possible and should undergo cultural-competence training.

5. Find group leaders.

    • Look for talented people who are not already identified as high-potentials.
    • Give them leadership and cultural-competence training and let them use the experience to develop new skills/areas of responsibility.

6. Present group business plan to senior executives/D&I council.

    • Set up realistic goals that dovetail with business priorities (recruitment, engagement, cultural competence).
    • Establish schedule for group leaders to meet regularly with senior executives.

IMPLEMENTATION/ASSESSMENT

7. Establish internal communications plan to attract members.

    • Make sure messaging of top-leadership support and inclusivity is clear.
    • Organize virtual and off-shift meetings so hourly and remote workers can join.

8. Set up consistent rules for all groups.

    • Allow them to meet during the workday.
    • Create funding mechanisms (diversity department, executive sponsor, fund-raising).

9. Be clear on time commitments.

    • Meet with group leaders’ supervisors to ensure that they are on board.
    • Establish membership and leadership criteria.

10. Evaluate progress with metrics.

    • Set up quarterly and annual goals and review with group leaders.
    • Report back to senior leadership on progress.
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