How Employee Resource Groups Will Create Diverse and Inclusive Business Opportunities In The Future [Interview with Fernando Serpa]

Today I’m speaking with Fernando Serpa. Fernando is the Executive Director of the Association of ERG and Diversity Councils. He has over 20 years of experience in Diversity & Inclusion and has worked at several high profile organisations including The White House and the US Department of Justice.

I was recently in Orlando, Florida at the ERG & Diversity & Inclusion Council Conference. I had the opportunity to have several important conversations about Diversity, Inclusion and Employee resource groups. I was fortunate enough to be able to capture some of those conversations for your benefit.

I thoroughly enjoyed speaking Fernando and this episode is like a backstage pass to the Conference, I managed to catch up with Fernando just after the award ceremony and you can literally hear people packing up the stage equipment during our conversation. Fernando has a bird’s eye view of employee resource groups and inclusion that I think you will appreciate. This is why I wanted to get him on the show.

In todays show we discuss several things including

  • The unique Awards Ceremony that Fernando is a part of
  • The evolution of employee resource groups over the past 20 years
  • How one employee resource group identified $50bn potential revenues for it’s organisation and much much more

Here’s some of the wisdom that Fernando shared:

Flags, Food & Fun

Fernando describes how the nature of employee resource groups has evolved over the past twenty years. Fernando explains how employee resource groups have developed from being social groups to an essential part of several successful businesses:

“We started off with affinity groups, which were more social groups getting together around social groups… the groups that would throw the Cinco de Mayo party.. we call them Flags, Food & Fun”

A $50bn business opportunity

Fernando talks about how employee resource groups can contribute to the operational success of an organisation. In particular he explains how General Motors have identified a $50bn business opportunity based on the work of their employee resource groups:

“Just today, our top honouree, General Motors, their Diversity & Inclusion council helped provide, I believe it was like $50bn in potential revenue because of the work their groups were doing, reaching out to the communities, and not only that test marketing devices for automobiles”

Virtual ERG’s

Fernando highlights how the trend towards decentralised workplaces has created a need for virtual employee resource groups. Fernando explains how virtual employee resource groups are part of the future of organisations:

“It gives that visibility to people who are working remotely or not a part of a day to day work environment, they give them that visibility to really start interacting with those at headquarters”

HOW SUMMARY SLIDES

If you want a quick snapshot of what the episode is about, I’ve created some slides that you may find interesting 

THE KEY TAKEAWAY

How can you manage potential conflict between your employees resource groups?

Show notes

Here are some selected links to for the resources and reports I discuss in the episode.

ERG & Council Conference

Association of ERG’s and Councils

Fernando Serpa Linkedin

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The Elements of Inclusion #4

Leaders must collaborate innovatively to leverage cultural expertise and drive business performance.

  • Why inclusive outcomes are driven by innovation
  • How developing a business case for diversity and inclusion specific to your organisation is a competitive advantage
  • Why novelty is at the heart of your inclusion journey

The Elements of Inclusion #3

Leaders must establish systems to ensure that everyone shares the same advantages and benefits. These processes will create incentives for inclusive behaviours.

  • How to augment your team with the tools and insights they need to prevent structural disadvantage
  • Why reinforcing generative norms ensures everyone belongs in the organisation
  • How inclusive representations can be embedded to promote an inclusive culture

The Elements of Inclusion #2

Leaders must redefine career development relationships to support inclusive performance.
  • Why traditional mentor relationships must be revised for an inclusive workplace
  • How leaders must embrace networks of developmental relationships for individual growth
  • Why established workplace norms must evolve for inclusion in the modern workplace

The Elements of Inclusion #1

Leaders must properly socialise people and socialise inclusive ideas by providing an environment for the cultural learning needed for an active role in an inclusive organisation

  • How your socialisation processes must evolve to encourage the sustainable cultivation of inclusive competencies
  • Why Leaders must consistently negotiate the line between organisational commitment and personal authenticity to promote performance
  • How developing intersectional self awareness can help leaders to leverage individual employee experiences