Why You’re Not Developing New Customers

Finally tap into those potentially lucrative markets and increase business.

You’ve hit a slump: Your new business funnel is growing thin. The company needs new customers to thrive, but what can you do to expand your reach to untapped markets that you haven’t tried?

What about asking your employee-resource groups for insights? Group members are subject-matter experts when it comes to navigating the key cultural nuances that influence sales and your company’s overall performance.

In Ways to Use Employee-Resource Groups, Manny Fernandez, now retired director of diversity at JCPenney (No. 35 in The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity), says diversity and inclusion play a vital role in generating new and sustainable business. “It’s about our associates making sure that every associate has a voice and an opportunity to be heard, valued and engaged, that we truly understand who our customer is … and then it’s about performance,” he explains.

The retailer found growing success when it used its employee-resource groups to understand its Asian customers; they picked up market share and gained customer loyalty.

What other innovative strategies can you learn to use your employee groups to increase your business goals? Jim Norman, vice president of talent acquisition, diversity and inclusion for Kraft Foods (No. 9) and Tim Stiles, tax partner for KPMG (No. 29), along with Fernandez, discussed these best practices during a DiversityInc panel.

The 1,045-word article also reveals innovative strategies on how employee-resource groups can be used to:

  • Assist in successfully on-boarding new hires
  • Provide skill-based training, career development and mentoring
  • Help with leadership development

For more on how to leverage employee-resource groups to improve market share, read Why Employee-Resource Groups Are Business Resource Groups.



  • I am currently the chair for the African American Collaborative, Employee Resource Group for Toyota Motor Sales. The vision and mission that our chapter has established, is to assist with Brand Restoration within the community. We are successfully achieving this through philanthropy and sponsorships at various community events. The article clearly acknowledges innovative ways to use employee-resource groups, which is refreshing.

    I am currently working on my dissertation and the topic is “The Power Employee Resource Groups have on connecting the Corporate Brand to the Community”. As Employee Resource Groups are utilized, they can impact the bottom line for the brand. ERGs can penetrate the community and bring brand awareness. It is however imperative that the employees recognize that they are agents of the company and must represent the corporation in a positive manner. Through the utilization of the ERGs, corporations will show a stronger, positive presence in the community through philanthropy. The brand will become woven within the community and a household name.

    Thank you for a great article.

    Tina Miller LeBlanc

  • Good article, but what struck me was there were no women on the panel and since this panel is discussing ERGs and diversity/inclusion, I think it makes sense to have included a woman in the discussion to share her perspective and share the female voice. Your publication sets an example and this particular item was very disappointing for me.

  • Regarding the previous statement, I’m curious about this practical application, and appreciate all that you shared. How are you utilizing ERG’s to actually change/improve the view of Toyota in the community? Toyota already has tremendous brand awareness. I’ve been a big Toyota fan for many years. I’ve been disappointed in their vehicles the last few years (based on personal experience, not the legal & safety issues often addressed in the news). How are you utilizing EGR’s to change this increasingly common view when the product itself isn’t changing/improving?

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