How Do You Include Hourly Workers in Resource Groups?

Your resource-group questions answered: From including hourly workers to finding leaders and counting membership, our cutting-edge research reveals the best practices and solutions you need.

Employee-Resource GroupsIt’s the question everyone keeps asking: How do you include hourly or unionized workers in resource groups? How do you get them to participate during their shifts? 

And there are other burning questions. How do you count being a “member”? Who qualifies to lead an resource group? What are companies that are good at this doing? 

DiversityInc has just completed cutting-edge research on the key issues and challenges in utilizing resource groups. Written by Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Barbara Frankel, the 2,592-word report includes best-practice strategies to solve companies’ most frequently asked questions.

The findings indicate an increasing interest in using these groups for multiple business goals internally and externally and in having leaders from a variety of levels and functions within the organization.

In the past five years, there has been a direct increase in the percentage of employees reported as members of resource groups. Currently, the DiversityInc Top 50 averages 23.4 percent of employees as “members of resource groups” while the average of all 535 participants in the DiversityInc Top 50 survey was 18.9 percent. Six years ago, when we started asking this question on the survey, the DiversityInc Top 50 averaged 11.2 percent.

There is a direct data correlation between higher membership and increased racial/gender representation at various management levels, according to analysis of the DiversityInc Top 50. 

In this exclusive report, we further explore this correlation in the cutting-edge best practices that top-performing companies are using today. Key areas include membership requirements and exclusions, structure, leadership selection and terms, executive sponsorship selection and funding, and measuring effectiveness.

For example, one best practice that 45 percent of companies follow is to create different membership policies for hourly/unionized workers, which enhances the talent pool, the opportunity for innovative ideas and the ability to create an inclusive culture throughout the organization.

Strategies to achieve this include:

•    Allowing hourly workers to participate fully in resource groups but only excusing those in leadership positions from shift work 
•    Allowing the participation of hourly employees but prohibiting them from assuming leadership positions
•    Requiring hourly workers to get supervisory approval if they seek to receive overtime for attending events after regular hours 
•    Requiring workers to get supervisory approval based on job content or a special sign-off from management to participate in social events and meetings during regular work hours

In addition to best practices on hourly workers, finding leaders and counting memberships, the report details the key diversity metrics that companies track to show definitive results. These can help diversity leaders to convince senior management—and the employee population at large—of the value of resource groups.

 Read the full New Resource-Group Research: Hourly Workers, Finding Leaders, Counting Membership report on


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