Q. We are trying to find ways to include our hourly and union workers in as much of the D&I work as possible. As you know, working with unions can be particularly difficult, and I want to have as much guidance as I can get. If there is anything written on this, that would be helpful.
Barbara Frankel: We've recently completed an in-depth survey on employee-resource groups, going beyond the questions asked on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity survey. We asked a number of questions on membership on this topic, and here are preliminary findings. The entire report will be available on BestPractices.DiversityInc.com. I'd also recommend you read "Increasing Participation in Resource Groups."
Of the companies surveyed on criteria for membership:
100% count formally signing up for membership
67% count attending events
67% count attending a minimum number of employee-resource groups meetings (specified in advance)
22% count actively contributing to the group
The criteria on exclusion varies, but 50 percent exclude types of workers from participation—contractors, in most cases. Forty-five percent have different policies for hourly and salaried workers on participation. Most of those that allow hourly-worker participation often require supervisor permission if during work hours, will not pay overtime for time spent on employee-resource groups, or will only allow those who take on leadership positions at employee-resource groups to participate during work hours. Many of these companies also work to educate the managers of the hourly/union workers on the importance of allowing them the flexibility to participate.
A handful of companies have been tracking employee-resource-group participation and engagement and are publicizing the results internally and on BestPractices.DiversityInc.com. This has an energizing effect on employees and enhances their involvement, especially in leadership roles.