I’d like to introduce our very first #TAKE3 feature that will be an ongoing series dedicated to quick, yet insightful, takeaways for the corporate responsibility realm. Each feature will include an interview with an industry leader that addresses three questions on best practices and trends influencing the triple bottom line.
To kick things off, I had the pleasure to interview Jennifer Brown, Founder and CEO of Jennifer Brown Consulting, whose an industry leader in diversity and inclusion. Below are three quick takeaways on how to improve employee engagement through ERGs (Employee Resource Groups) and attract talent through community involvement.
1) What are key tactics that improve employee engagement?
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are a key tactic that can improve employee engagement, productivity and loyalty. They also enable recognition, job skills and visibility amongst different business functions within an organization. One of the main problems is that companies are not utilizing technology to improve engagement in ERGs. Through client studies, Jennifer Brown Consulting has found technology can take ERGs participation to the next level.
For example— Alcoa’s LGBT ERG, Employees at Alcoa for Gay and Lesbian Equality (EAGLE), needed to develop a program to engage allies for EAGLE to move forward with its goals. To do so, they have an EAGLE portal for allies to pledge their commitment and designated a “Yammer Bomb” day whereby allies were encouraged to post on the company-wide Yammer page stating why they are an ally. EAGLE had a substantial increase in membership due to social media efforts and currently has over 60% of executive council members as EAGLE allies.
Click here to read more case studies like Alcoa’s in JBC’s White Paper.
2) According to a Forbes Insight report, 72% of companies say volunteerism and philanthropy are critical for recruiting younger qualified employees. What insight can you provide to make this recruitment strategy unique and return successful results?
First, if a company has emphasis on growing talent, they need to reach into schools and specifically attract a diverse workforce. Many companies are typically already invested in community involvement. Therefore, volunteerism in schools can act as an identification mechanism that enables recruitment in philanthropic brand, company and employees while doing good.
Secondly, to attract and recruit young professionals today, companies need to figure out how to align corporate philanthropy with individual passions. Young professionals desire to integrate who they are in the workplace and companies are not equipped to do it. Companies should try offering a recruitment value proposition— such as promoting paid time off to engage in ERGs and community involvement activities based on interest.
3) How do ERGs and CSR initiatives complement each other?
Each kind of ERG is identity and interest based, and typically should be tied to particular nonprofits. For example, Asian ERGs could have relationships with Asian Trade nonprofits. The correlation between ERGs and CSR initiatives empowers companies to identify and build talent, while fostering an inclusive relationship with the community. In addition, they mutually benefit recruitment, professional development and ultimately mainstream diversity. Companies need diverse individuals to drive community strategy for brand visibility and impact in different markets.
For more tips on ERG engagement, check out JBC’s Four Steps to Unlocking ERG Potential.