This year our Employee Resource Group (ERG) really hit its stride because we had both grassroots enthusiasts and upper management support at the same time.
That’s never happened before; it was always one or the other. Some years it was all top down: VPs wanted a group to happen, but as soon as there was a re-org or the end of the year goal came to a close the group fizzled out. Other years it was all grassroots efforts with no senior leadership team participation and we had a hard time growing the group. Everyone was “too busy” to come to the meetings. I now think that “too busy” is a code for “people will question my value and priorities if I attend a development program”.
When senior leaders took the time to support what the grassroots enthusiasts were doing by attending events and directly helping with publicity, it sent a message that taking time for these employee development programs was important. If the busiest people in the company can take a whole hour to go to a diversity group meeting 4-6 times a year, nobody is too busy.
Quick take: participants in women's networking groups
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