What are the best practices around Employee Resource Groups for millennials in Canada?
Employee Resource Groups (also known as ERGs or affinity groups) are “voluntary, employee-led groups that serve as a resource for members and organizations by fostering a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with organizational mission, values, goals, business practices, and objectives.”1
The first ERGs were designed to strengthen the collective voice of individuals that were otherwise underrepresented in the top echelons of management (i.e. visible minorities and women). Since those early days, the concept has been expanded to include a broader range of options based on personal characteristics as well as interests.
One of the newer arrivals to this scene are the ERGs focused on Millennial or ‘GEN-Y’ employees. As these most recent entrants take their place in the workforce, dedicated resource groups bring two immediate benefits to the individual. First, the opportunity for social connection eases the isolation associated with starting any new job. Second, it provides a fluid platform on which new hires can both learn about corporate culture and influence it.
Here are some examples from a few of Canada’s Best Workplaces.
Lead by a millennial, ATB Financial has created an Employee Resource Group that brings together millennial and non-millennial team members to discuss issues that impact the organization and support one another in the broader ATB community. Members of the group engage in an online community allowing them to build their personal networks, potentially leading to hot new opportunities and learning career advancement strategies.
Leaders at LoyaltyOne recognize that the workforce is changing. In order to develop a dynamic, sustainable culture for the future workforce they established a Millennial Advisory Committee. Comprised of high performing and diverse Generation Y associates, this committee provides feedback and insights on programs and helps champion LoyaltyOne's culture and values through a grassroots approach.
“Diversity and growth are not just integrated, but inseparable” says Dave McKay, President and CEO, RBC.
RBC NextGen is a movement that enables RBC employees in their 20s and 30s to build connections with peers and leaders while creating positive impact within RBC and in the community. RBC is a thought leader in the diversity and inclusion movement, using ERGs such as this to provide millennials with peer support and recruitment opportunities through mentoring, coaching or networking initiatives while promoting avenues for education and awareness for other employees.
If you’d like more ideas or additional support to bridge the gap in your organization, we’d love to help.
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