DiversityInc’s Top 50 Panel Discusses Best ERG Practices

LeVoyd Carter, Executive Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Cox Communications (No. 11), Jeff Ertwine, Sr. Director of Program Management for Cox Communications and Corie Pauling, Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer at TIAA (No. 15), came together on May 7 to discuss the evolution of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).

Carter discussed why Cox rebooted its ERGs a few years ago and how to improve them after making mistakes. His work in operations includes employee management, development, engagement, product development and strategy. LeVoyd’s team also facilitates Cox Communications National Diversity and Inclusion Council meetings.

“ERGs are supposed to be grassroots, employee-driven, creative, and they are there to help develop the employees,” Carter said. “Taking those ERGs and making them grassroots, creating subcommittees and to hear those voices resonate is what has made our ERGs more successful than ever. Today we have eight ERGs based in Atlanta and we just launched five regional chapters as well.”

Ertwine shared how his role as an ERG leader has improved and he shared the successes the ERGs have experienced as a result of the reboot. At Cox, Ertwine develops, builds, and recruits cross-divisional groups from the ground up. The group serves to support the veteran community and increase awareness of recruiting/hiring veterans into the company.

Pauling talked about TIAA’s innovative ERG Incubator program; an ERG think tank. Pauling joined TIAA 12 years ago as Associate General Counsel. She continues to experience firsthand how TIAA intentionally evolves company culture to deliver on their brand through a strong focus on fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace.

“ERGs can become something that is viable to employees for social and networking reasons. But one of the things the organization should strive to get from ERGs is a lens on both workforce and business innovation,” Pauling said. “Based on our analytics, we see greater upward mobility through our ERG leaders… As [ERGs] take off, be willing to make the decisions that you think works for your organization so you’re getting from your ERGs what’s best suited for your future.”

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