Dr. Shelton Goode, DPA
Participation in Business Resource Groups (BRGs) is crucial to an organization’s diversity management strategy. When doing research for my book Diversity Managers: Angels of Mercy or Barbarians at the Gate, I found that companies with high employee BRG participation report higher overall job performance and engagement as well as enhanced results in recruiting, retaining, and developing employees – especially people of color and females.
Employee participation in BRGs is on the rise. According to my research, the percentage of employees who are members of at least one BRG in their company has grown from 11 percent in 2005 to 23 percent in 2015. Companies are reporting that their Business Resource Groups have demonstrated, in recent years, their impact on workforce diversity and community outreach with business results. Based on my survey of over 100 Chief Diversity Officers, there is a correlation between companies with high BRG participation and rates of promotion, as well as unbiased retention across demographic groups.
A crucial factor for success is employee participation. The percentage of employees who are members of resource groups for the companies included in my research, has been steadily rising over the years from 11 percent in 2005 to 21.9 percent in 2015.
What should organizations do if they have participation rates that are lower than the companies included in my research, or if they have inconsistent participation across units/geography of the organization?
Consider the following:
- Expand the groups by adding chapters
- Increase participation by using technology to hold virtual meetings
- Conduct BRG Road Shows
- Rotate the meetings and events to different locations
- Conduct a BRG Expo
- Hold a BRG Forum
- Implement Virtual BRGs using Facebook, LinkedIn, and Run-My-Club etc.
- Record and broadcast marquee events
- Align BRG initiatives with long-term D&I strategy