Part of every senior executive's responsibility is to identify, recruit and retain the best available talent for his or her company. A critical way executives can do this is by participating in resource groups. Participation allows them to see firsthand high-potential candidates—especially those in their business unit/department—who might otherwise go unnoticed and to assess their capabilities.
Senior-leadership (executives reporting to the CEO, and those one and two levels below) participation in resource groups denotes commitment from the top and reinforces the notion that the groups are critical to the success of the company. This, in turn, attracts more employees, grows membership and increases the number of innovative ideas and strategies emanating from the resource groups.
DiversityInc Top 50 data show a strong correlation between senior-leadership involvement with resource groups and employee participation. Companies whose senior leaders are members of resource groups have 18.4 percent of all employees participating in the groups. Seventy percent of the CEOs at these companies meet with the groups on a regular basis. For companies whose senior leaders aren't members of resource groups, the data show a negative correlation. These companies have just 2.1 percent of all employees participating in resource groups. Just 11 percent of CEOs at these companies meet with the groups on a regular basis. Employee participation for this same group is down from 3 percent four years ago.
Increased participation leads to increased interaction with senior leaders, which leads to increased engagement levels of employees who join the groups. (To read about how membership in resource groups leads to higher engagement, go to www.BestPractices.DiversityInc.com/engagement)
-- Shane Nelson