On Wednesday, 18 May, Investing In Ethnicity held an Action Group for ERG/BRG Leaders on engagement. This tied directly to the Network Group section on the Maturity Matrix and was aimed at increasing engagement with ERGs.
When looking at the Matrix scores across all organisations, we saw a few points relating to engagement:
- 85% of organisations said their Exec Sponsor meets with chairs/leaders of the multicultural network at least once a quarter
- 82% of organisations held at least one network event specifically for allies
- Only 65% of organisations developed a programme of events to help build awareness and understanding for allies within your network
- Only 53% of Network Groups open their activities and events externally where possible
Principal Lawyer Customer Experience & Ethnic Diversity Network Chair, BT
INSIGHT FROM BERNADETTE:
- Network has survived the pandemic, it’s been a very busy time
- Whole range of activities – some strategic (how do ethnic minorities talent progress through the workplace to higher ranks) and lots of educational events.
- Having a workforce of over 100,000 people means that some people are very proficient at talking about race and ethnicity and some people are very scared.
- Found that training white male allies really helped to bring about change.
- The emotional toll of doing this work is massive, so it’s important to be mindful when asking for increased engagement.
Associate General Counsel, Securities Services and Financing l GLS I GBM & CMB Legal, HSBC
INSIGHT FROM ANDRE:
Has been Co-chair of Embrace, HSBC UK’s ethnicity network, for about a year
The landscape has changed so much over the last couple of years. Moved from only awareness-based events for like minded individuals, to training and assisting with the development of policies on ethnicity inclusion.
The time commitment has increased for Embrace members. There’s a challenge of having to do more on top of their day jobs
The session was divided into three key areas of engagement:
- Engaging Stakeholders
- Engaging Allies
- Collaborating with other Internal Networks
Firstly, it’s important to identify which stakeholders are important to engage with. We re-introduced our Stakeholder Mapping Worksheet which is a great way to brainstorm and document key stakeholders for your network. It can be found on page 4 of our ERG Strategy Resource Guide here.
When mapping these stakeholders, it’s important to keep the following questions in the front of your mind:
- How do we engage stakeholders?
- How do we filter that into allyship?
- How do we keep that momentum going?
This can help make you time efficient by filling it out to make sure you know who to engage and how.
Insight From Andre
o Executive sponsor and CEO have been a hugely important stakeholder because they are senior and influential. People listen to them, and just having them at events really increases attendance with the wider organisation.
o D&I and HR teams are key stakeholders. They are so important in terms of hiring and progression o We engage with all of these key stakeholders at least twice a month. These catch ups could be as short as five minutes, but it’s important to keep up frequency so that we’re constantly on their radar.
Insight From Bernadette
o Our Exec Sponsor, who is the CEO of one of the lines of business, is a key stakeholder. Once they’re engaged, because they have a whole line of people that are accountable to them, the rest of the business follows.
o Stakeholders must also work together – HR, Marketing Teams, Ex-Co, etc…. A good example of this being effective is when we had a drive to increase our data declaration last year. The ERGs worked with the marketing teams and HR to roll out a campaign to raise awareness of employees declaring their data, which resulted in a 14% increase. When lots of people have consistent messaging about something, it builds trust, which is why it’s important to have multiple stakeholders working together.
One of the biggest changes we’ve seen as a membership initiative throughout our years of the Matrix is around ally engagement. We’ve found that companies that prioritize allyship with a programme of engagement are more successful than those that just do a one-off event.
Here’s what this can look like:
When developing a programme of engagement, make sure that you have both events and comms that complement each other. The events you plan and the communications you send out should also have two clear purposes: to raise awareness and to motivate action.
Some great ways to raise awareness involve using toolkits and storytelling. Making things personal through storytelling is one of the most effective ways to get your message across and convert allies. Actions can include workshops, listening circles, making pledges, or reverse mentoring/sponsorship.
The Allies Toolkit is a great resource for how to engage allies. If you can get allies to pledge to do three small things, you can change culture. Allies Toolkit can be found here.
Insight from Bernadette
o Always had allies in the network, but more recently have taken steps to make allyship more formal and personal o Introduced local allies in each regional office. You will know who the local Ally/Champion for ethnicity is in that office who would be aware of any issues that might face employees locally. This has also created a real sense of community, and also created a more formal network.
o Also launched Ally Ambassadors – 30 ambassadors across the business that are trained and equipped to get the message out: that allyship is personal. We want to give allies education so that they are aware of issues in terms of race. Also empower ambassadors to deal with any potential situations that might happen in the business – if you see something, you are equipped to deal with it.
Insight from Andre
o Sometimes just trying things and seeing what works or doesn’t work is a learning experience in itself.
o There was an incident last year with the Euros and a penalty shot being missed, which cause widespread racial abuse. The business put out a comms the next morning condemning it, which opened the door to employees being able to discuss the situation internally. It prevented a situation where managers might not know what to say to their colleagues in their team. Is it okay to open up a conversation? The business is letting employees know that this is okay to talk about, which makes employees feel valued.
o Collaborating with other networks to combine ally training that works across all networks has been something that worked for us. How we tackle microaggressions and understanding how underrepresented voices are heard is very much the same, so it makes sense to combine the training to be as time efficient as possible.
COLLABORATION WITH OTHER INTERNAL NETWORKS
- Collaborating with other internal networks converts allies automatically and increases engagement.
- Find common ground with another ERG by discussing intersectional identities.
- Intersectionality is an analytical framework for understanding how aspects of a person’s social and political identities combine to create different modes of discrimination and privilege.
- Events focusing on intersectionality have the benefit of engaging employees that wouldn’t normally think to attend one of your events and keep people thinking of individuals as more than just one identity.