Staff networks / Employee resource groups

A staff network (SN) or employee resource group (ERG) plays a key role in encouraging and supporting all employees to bring their whole self to work. They contribute to creating inclusive environments and building a sense of community. Networks help to facilitate employee engagement and meaningful dialogue about diversity and inclusion at work. The collective experience of members can also provide invaluable feedback on current policies and provide new, innovative ideas, based on lived experiences, for improving diversity and inclusivity.

They are usually formed by groups of employees who hold minoritised identities, e.g. Black or other People of the Global Majority, women, those with disabilities, or who are LGBTQ+.

With the proper structure, clearly defined objectives and a clear line of sight to the organisation’s EDI strategy, staff networks are an invaluable asset to any business.   They can be important agents of change, helping to embed an inclusive culture across the organisation.

Different employers, however, have very different ideas of what it means to establish a network in their workplace. For some, this is primarily a discussion forum, where staff can come together to share their experiences and support one another. For others, it is a platform for raising awareness of or advocacy for issues facing these groups within management and the wider workforce.

In practice, networks can fulfil any or all of these functions. However, if they are to be effective tools in improving inclusivity and tackling discrimination at work, networks need to function as real vehicles for employee voice at an individual and collective level. They need to be able to support organisations in delivering real change, not just existing as a tokenistic nod towards inclusion.

HDN can support you wherever you are on your journey with staff networks. We can help you make sure the right structures are in place, there are realistic objectives with a direct line of sight to the organisation’s EDI strategy and that all the networks are working in collaboration with each other.

Establishing a new staff network

Knowing where to start on the journey to creating a successful and influential staff network can be daunting.  HDN can support you as you set out on this journey by helping you:

Reviewing and refreshing your staff networks

Having launched your network(s), you may feel they would benefit from a review of progress made against the objectives created when they started out, and how effective they have been in supporting the delivery of the EDI strategy. 

We do this through understanding:

We can also host a workshop or focus groups for individual networks or representatives from across the family of networks to understand more deeply the challenges they have faced, the barriers they believe might exist and create a pathway through to better engagement between the networks and the business.

About your consultant:

Sally Ward

Sally Ward

Sally Ward has in-depth knowledge of the wide benefits of embedding ED&I into an organisation’s culture, and a particular interest and expertise in employee networks and resource groups. With strong stakeholder management skills, experience in delivering a variety of interventions and a focus on improving the workplace experiences of all groups of employees, Sally looks beyond a company’s policies to make sure both the individuals and the employer are supported.

For more information or to go ahead with one of these support options.

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