Employee networks are a modern phenomenon in corporate America. These networks are growing rapidly in corporations across the country. Employee networks are sometimes referred to as affinity groups or diversity networks. They typically represent groups that have historically been underrepresented in corporations, such as Latinos, African-Americans, Asians, women, and gays. These networks typically have the formal support of their companies and often have a senior executive as a sponsor. Employee networks add business value and benefit the employees who participate in them.
These networks add business value by helping to reach diverse markets. For example, Honeywell’s Asian American Council was instrumental in helping the company understand business norms, people, and protocol for their expansion into Asia. Networks participate in the recruitment, development, and retention of diverse employees. They benefit employees by promoting cultural awareness and opportunities to develop personally and professionally. They can identify issues of concern, and provide mutual support and advocacy. They share information, reduce feelings of isolation, and create bonds to other employees and the company.
Diversity networks are similar to the affinity groups in college. For example, there is a society of Hispanic Engineers at many colleges. You can look at corporate diversity networks as the corporate equivalent of these college groups. I work for a leading developer of financial software and I am the San Diego site leader for our Latino diversity network. Do you have diversity groups in your company? What do you think about them? I am interested in your feedback. Our main focus for this fiscal year is to attract Latino candidates for our talent pipeline. If you or somebody you know is interested in a career in the software development industry, please contact me on my facebook page www.facebook.com/gregmtz.
by Greg Martinez