What Are the Benefits of Employee-Resource Groups

Luke Visconti’s Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.


Question:

What’s your opinion on employee networks/affinity groups?

Answer:

Employee-resource groups (AKA network or affinity groups) are the foundation of effective bi-directional communications in an organization. All companies in The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity use them.

I prefer “resource” group because most white people don’t perceive the need for a network or affinity, but everyone needs a resource.

Aside from the tremendous psychological benefit of facilitating minority groups to aggregate (see Beverly Tatum’s book “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria“), savvy companies task their resource groups with coming up with business-development ideas.

This links the marketplace to the company by utilizing employees as an internal resource. Other benefits to employee-resource groups include increased engagement, recruitment (referrals), increased retention and talent development.

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