Networking Groups go by different monikers like affinity groups, employee resource groups, or business resource groups, and have been around long before social networks. These groups are designed to build communities of people with a similar connection albeit gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, etc. Benefits to an organization include access to insights about a community that can aid in solving not only employee issues but also business problems. Today’s recruiter can benefit by forming alliances with networking groups that are often an untapped source of knowledge.
Collaborations between the recruiter and these groups can allow for creative solutions that recruiters haven’t thought about. In one of my prior roles, recruiters would consult with Employee Resource Group (ERG) Leaders about positions they were having trouble filling. “The ask” would be for ERGs to provide avenues that the recruiter hadn’t considered. ERGs in turn felt valued to be able to help solve a business problem and were suggesting additional conferences, organizations and access to their personal networks to help fill the open positions. ERG Leaders also assisted the recruitment team by sharing a weekly open job posting with their respective communities. This allowed for an increase in the quality of referrals provided to the recruiting teams.
Recruiters in turn can learn how to leverage Resource Groups by attending and participating in conferences like the Network Affinity and Leadership Congress or Out and Equal Workplace Summit that are targeted to ERG Communities. These conferences often provide programming around solving recruiting and retention issues. Recruiters may be pleasantly surprised by the outcome and insights they gain from being in this space.
Another useful tool that I’ve seen created is a one-page overview of an ERG’s function, benefits, programming and contact information. This tool can be used by recruiters to answer cultural questions asked by prospective employees during the interview process or even at even at recruiting conferences. For the prospective employee, they gain insights into whether the organization is a good fit and also access to a buddy once they decide to accept the offer.
Most ERG Groups are forming their own recruitment and retention strategies. They have ideas on how they want to solve the problem and make a contribution to the organization. Be sure to check in with your Resource Group Leaders and ask to see their strategy. This is an opportunity for partnering on solving recruiting challenges.
As a Human Resources professional, you should never overlook the incredible usefulness of building alliances and partnerships with community organizations, associations, as well as your firm’s internal “Employee Resource Groups.” These efforts can aid your HR efforts. Some of these organizations could include: Women in Technology, Hire Heroes USA, HRC advocates on behalf of LGBT Americans, NBMBAs, NSHMBAs, and AsianMBA.org. At Monsanto, leveraging our Employee Networks Groups (i.e., Women, African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian Networks) was a key priority.
For example, a summit with the Network Group leaders to work toward developing shared goals around diversity recruiting, retention activities, outreach programs, Diversity awards, etc was a key objective; these groups were tremendously helpful in augmenting the unified Diversity Recruiting strategy for professional hires devised for the Global Staffing Department (which achieved an increase in “POC” Applicant Flow of over 70% for two consecutive years with hires reaching 24% and 36% of US Professional Hires). You could also enlist the members of your Network groups in your Employment Branding Program; they could serve as Brand Ambassadors for your firm.
So, then, Resource Groups are here to stay. Companies like Sodexo are highlighting the value of their nine business resource groups in the recruiting process. How are you leveraging your network groups to enhance your Talent Acquisition strategies?
Simone Morris (@jubileetown) also contributed to this article. She has served as an ERG Member, Co-Chair, Chair and Advisor to Employee Resource Group Leaders. She has been recognized for her exemplary Employee Resource Group Leadership skills by her previous employer Diageo, Diversity Best Practices, and Diversity MBA Magazine. Photo Credit schnauzdesign.
Johnny Torrance-Nesbitt (@JohnnyTorrNesbi) MBA, is an award-winning Global HR professional across several industries and with outstanding successes in Global University Relations, Employment Branding and Global Talent Acquisition, and Diversity Strategies.
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