As the corporate world continues to evolve, fostering diversity, inclusion, and a vibrant work culture has become not only a moral imperative but also a strategic necessity.
At the heart of this transformation are Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), silent champions that play a pivotal role in Fortune 100 companies. These groups, born out of a commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and equity, are critical catalysts for change.
This article looks into the success stories of select Fortune 100 companies that have harnessed the incredible potential of ERGs. These organizations have not only maintained high levels of employee engagement but have also cultivated healthy work environments.
What are Employee Resource Groups?
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are also known as affinity groups or business network groups. They are voluntary, employee-led organizations that bring together employees who share common characteristics or interests.
ERGs are typically formed around dimensions of diversity such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, or other shared characteristics or experiences.
The primary goals of ERGs are to promote diversity and inclusion within the workplace, support professional development and networking opportunities for their members, and contribute to the overall success of the organization.
Some key characteristics and functions of ERGs include:
- Diversity and Inclusion: ERGs play a critical role in advancing diversity and inclusion efforts within a company. They provide a platform for employees to celebrate and embrace their diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
- Professional Development: ERGs often offer members opportunities for skill development, mentorship, and career advancement. They can help employees build leadership skills and increase their visibility within the organization.
- Networking: ERGs facilitate networking among employees who may not have otherwise crossed paths in the workplace. These connections can lead to collaboration and innovation.
- Community Outreach: Many ERGs are involved in community service and outreach activities. They may participate in volunteer work, sponsor educational events, or support causes related to their group's mission.
- Resource and Support: ERGs provide a supportive community for employees who may face unique challenges or experiences related to their shared characteristics. They can offer a safe space for discussion, sharing experiences, and seeking advice.
- Business Impact: ERGs can contribute to the success of the company by promoting diversity and inclusion, which can lead to a more engaged and productive workforce. They may also provide valuable insights and perspectives on reaching diverse customer bases.
It's important to note that ERGs are voluntary, and participation is typically open to all employees, not just those who share the group's characteristics. While ERGs are often associated with promoting diversity and inclusion, they can vary in their specific goals and activities based on the needs and interests of their members and the company's overall mission.
10 Fortune 100 Companies and Their ERGs
Fortune 100 companies are known for their leadership and success in the business world. They're also setting an example of how diversity and inclusion should be done right in the workplace. One key way they're doing this is by actively supporting multiple ERGs.
ERGs aren't just a side project for these big companies; they're at the heart of their efforts to create a workplace where everyone feels valued and included.
Let’s take a closer look at some Fortune 100 companies and how their active ERGs are changing the game.
Walmart has over 2.2 million employees globally, which means that they also have a very diverse workforce. Because diversity is already at the heart of the organization, they had to work on making sure inclusivity is also an important part of the equation.
Walmart’s ERGs include:
- African American Business Resource Group (AABRG)
- Asian Pacific Associates Network (APAN)
- Hispanic Latino Associate Resource Group (HLARG, also known as the LatinX Resource Group)
- Tribal Voices (which focuses on the welfare of Native American and Alaskan Native associates and communities)
- Faith and Vocation: Opportunity and Reality (FAVOR)
- inABLE (for people affected by disabilities)
- PRIDE (for the LGBTQ+ community and allies)
- SERVES (for past and present military service members and their families)
- Women’s Resource Community
Some key initiatives successfully implemented include the C.O.M.P.A.S.S. onboarding program by the AABRG, the Mi Futuro mentoring program for kids by HLARG, and the implementation of domestic partnership and transgender health benefits by PRIDE.
You can tell that diversity and inclusion form the roots of the Apple organization, knowing that they have dubbed their groups as DNA – or Diversity Network Associations.
Apple’s DNAs include:
Apple was also way ahead of the game, with their very first ERG founded in 1986.
Amazon has built diversity, equity, and inclusion into the organization’s core from the way they develop their talent to the way they engage with the community around them.
Amazon’s ERGs include:
- Amazon Women in Engineering (AWE)
- Asians at Amazon
- Black Employee Network (BEN)
- Body Positive Peers (BPP)
- Families at Amazon
- Indigenous at Amazon
- Latinos at Amazon
- Mental Health and Well-Being (MHW)
- Warriors at Amazon
- Women at Amazon
- Women in Finance & Global Business Services Initiative (WiFi)
Some key initiatives include partnering with Toys for Tots and Habitat for Humanity, as well as mental health events where they invite experts to spread more awareness within the organization.
Chevron makes sure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are always relevant to the organization by providing a direct line between the heads of their ERGs and the leadership team, which includes the CEO and the Chief Human Resources Officer. This is why over 40% of their employees are part of their employee network groups.
Chevron’s ERGs include:
- Asian Employee Network
- Black Employee Network
- Boola Moort Employee Network (Indigenous Australian focused)
- Enhancing ABilities and LEveraging Disabilities (ENABLED)
- Filipino Employee Network
- Native American Employee Network
- Promoting Respect, Inclusion & Dignity for Everyone (PRIDE)
- Somos Employee Network (Latin America and Hispanic)
- Stages Employee Network (Mid and Late career)
- Veterans Employee Network
- Women’s Employee Network
- XYZ Employee Network (Early and Mid-career)
Chevron has been very intentional about being inclusive especially in developing leaders, making sure that all groups are fairly represented across the organization.
5. JP Morgan Chase
JP Morgan Chase believes that everyone’s unique voice should be heard – that’s why they continue to advance the organization’s diversity, equity & inclusion strategies through their Business Resource Groups (BRGs).
JP Morgan Chase’s BRGs include:
- Access Ability (Disability and Caregiver Resource Group)
- Adelante (Hispanic and Latino BRG)
- Asians and Pacific Islanders Reaching for Excellence (AsPIRE)
- Black Organization for Leadership Development (BOLD)
- NextGen (for early career professionals)
- PRIDE (LGBTQ+ and allies)
- Sage (administrative professionals)
- Voices for Employees that Served (VETS)
- Women on the Move
- Working Families Network (WFN)
Over 35% of the organization’s employees worldwide are part of at least one BRG.
Microsoft has created an environment where employees can thrive in their personal and professional lives regardless of their varied backgrounds and experiences. That’s why they believe in the power of ERGs.
Microsoft’s ERGs are:
- Blacks at Microsoft (BAM)
- Global LGBTQIA+ Employees and Allies at Microsoft (GLEAM)
- Disability at Microsoft
- Military at Microsoft
- Asians at Microsoft
- Families at Microsoft
- Hispanic and LatinX Organization of Leaders in Action (HOLA)
- Women at Microsoft
- Indigenous at Microsoft
Through these groups, Microsoft is able to help their employees find and provide the right support while also contributing to the community around them.
UPS has a huge global presence, making their workforce naturally diverse. Because of this, they have successfully established over 200 chapters of their Business Resource Groups (BRGs) worldwide.
These groups include:
- African American BRG
- Asian BRG
- Hispanic/Latino BRG
- Focus on Abilities
- Pride Alliance
- Future Leaders
- Multicultural BRG
- Parents and Caregivers
- Veterans BRG
- Women’s Leadership Development
- Women in Operations
To promote this culture of belonging, they stand together through their battle cry – You Belong at UPS.
8. American Airlines
American Airlines’ Council of Global Leads takes the lead in making sure that their organization is inclusive to all. They do this by fully supporting the organization’s Employee Business Resource Groups (EBRGs) to make sure all employees from diverse backgrounds are represented.
These EBRGs are:
- Asian Pacific Islander
- Black Professional Network
- Family Matters
- Generation Now
- Latin Diversity Network
- Living Green
- Native American
- PRIDE Employee (LGBT and Allies)
- Professional Women in Aviation
- Veteran Military
- Survivors Network
Aside from its employees, American Airlines also applies its DEI initiatives to suppliers and the community it serves.
3M believes that championing diversity and inclusion is the best way to enrich their own work culture. That’s why it’s important for them that employees can collaborate and network through their employee resource networks.
These networks include:
- 3M Pride
- A3CTION (Asians and Asian-Americans Coming Together for Innovation and Opportunity Network)
- African American Network
- disAbility Awareness Network
- Latino Resource Network
- Military and Veterans Support Network
- Native American Network
- New Employee Opportunity Network (NEON)
- Women’s Leadership Forum
Aside from making sure the organization is inclusive from the moment they hire employees, they also provide opportunities for members of these groups to serve the communities around them and champion for their causes.
Coca-Cola believes that their employees are key to a successful Diversity, Equity & Inclusion platform. That’s why they provide platforms for their employees to bare their unique voices by supporting their different inclusion networks:
- Asian Pacific Inclusion Network
- Black Employee Network
- Hispanic + Leadership Inclusion Network
- KO-Gen Inclusion Network
- LGBTQ + Allies Inclusion Network
- Military Veterans Inclusion Network
- This-Ability Inclusion Network
- Women's LINC Inclusion Network
Aside from these networks, they also have business forums where they provide opportunities to network, volunteer, and develop different skills:
- Coca‑Cola Administrative Professionals (CCAP)
- Coca‑Cola Technology Association of Georgia (TAG)
- Coca‑Cola Women in STEM (CWIS)
These groups allow Coca-Cola to stay true to their DEI commitment of recruiting, retaining, engaging and developing diverse talent.
4 Tips to Growing Successful ERGs
Creating and nurturing successful ERGs is a powerful way for organizations to promote diversity, inclusion, and employee engagement. The list of Fortune 100 companies above has proven that they make an impact on the diverse communities around them.
However, the growth and success of ERGs require careful planning and execution. So here are four tips that should help you and your organization achieve the same amount of success.
- Strong Leadership and Support: Ensure that each ERG has dedicated and enthusiastic leadership. Leaders should be passionate about the group's mission and be able to motivate and engage members. Additionally, garner support from senior executives and the broader organization to demonstrate the importance of ERGs.
- Clear Goals and Objectives: Define clear and achievable goals for each ERG. These goals should align with both the group's mission and the overall diversity and inclusion strategy of the company. Having specific objectives will help members stay focused and measure their progress.
- Foster an Engaging and Collaborative Environment. Encourage active participation and inclusivity within ERGs. Create a welcoming environment where all employees, regardless of background or level, feel comfortable joining and contributing. Foster collaboration between ERGs and the larger organization to maximize impact.
- Choose the Right Communication Channels: Selecting the right communication channels is crucial for the success of ERGs. Ensure that members can easily connect and stay informed. Utilize a mix of in-person meetings, digital platforms, and social media to facilitate communication, share resources, and promote events. Effective communication keeps members engaged and informed about ERG activities and initiatives.
It’s important to encourage dialogues around diversity and inclusion to happen not just in the business setting, but also in casual conversations among employees. CoffeePals can help you with that.
As a virtual coffee chat platform, you can use CoffeePals to connect people across your organization so that they can have meaningful conversations about the things that truly matter. You can even use the tool’s Coffee Maker feature to have entire teams discuss thought-provoking questions. It’s a great way to build stronger relationships at work and allows people to discover more about cultures and backgrounds different from their own.
Try out CoffeePals and find new ways to advance your diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. You can sign up for a free trial or contact our team if you want to find out how you can create a more engaging experience for your organization.