Creating an Inclusive Workplace Culture
During my global travels, I have heard this question raised several times. Perhaps you may have had this thought or asked a question as to why we have groups focused on our differences. So, I would like to address this and the purpose of Affinity Network Groups (ANGs).
I will start by noting that each of us has unique perspectives along with shared group memberships. It’s how we operate and part of being human. By definition, an in-group or insider group is a group with which one feels a sense of solidarity or community of interests and an out-group or outsider group is for those people who do not belong to a specific in-group. Typically, when it comes to group interaction, insider groups do not notice differences, which is opposite for outsider groups. And, I’m sure everyone has had that experience of feeling what it’s like to be a part of an insider vs. outsider group.
Let me draw a correlation with my personal experience. During my first 20 years as an employee at ON Semiconductor, I can count a handful of times someone of the same gender and ethnic background sat in the same business meeting giving me the perspective of belonging to an outsider group. However, I also understand my privilege in being free to share photos of my husband in my office or having the ease of walking the stairs to a team meeting if an elevator in the building is out of service giving me the perspective of belonging to an insider group. These experiences give me the unique opportunity to provide feedback on what our company can do to help improve the employee experience.
Several of our top customers and competitors also have affinity groups like our ANGs. They may refer to their groups as employee resource groups (ERGs). Dimensions of difference that companies across all industries are focused on today can include ability, culture and ethnicity, gender, age, race, sexual orientation, socio-economic class, military veteran status and education.
The existence of affinity groups, when used properly, equates to a great resource in addressing business needs and decisions on talent around recruitment, retention, community outreach, and business development. As part of our Diversity and Inclusion Initiative (D&I), these groups can be an outlet to understanding the different perspectives of the employee experience, having a more engaged workforce that can show up fully, creating networking and mentoring relationships, allowing full perspective of company brand and marketing strategies and engaging with different segments of the market.
As stated in a Forbes article regarding ERGs the author wrote, “One of the biggest benefits of ERGs is their power to connect people across physical offices and organizational groups—they can bring together employees at different levels, across departments and build a sense of community and belonging across the entire business.” This is exactly what my team and I aim to do at ON Semiconductor, cultivating an open and diverse culture.
If you are interested in hearing more on the business case for incorporating diversity and inclusion practices in the workplace and the role of affinity groups, please reference “The Inclusion Dividend: Why Investing in Diversity & Inclusion Pays Off” by Mark Kaplan and Mason Donovan. It is available for our employee via our internal learning platform, further promoting learning and development of our employees.
Now, let me reintroduce our five established ANGs.
I would also like to welcome and introduce our two new ANGs approved by ON Semiconductor’s D&I council this past December.
So, are Affinity Network Groups exclusive? Absolutely not.
“Our Affinity Network Groups are key to an inclusive environment as they shape, provide direction and validate the company’s diversity and inclusion roadmap. Each group is open and inclusive of all employees” – Tobin Cookman, senior vice president of human resources
Our Affinity Network Groups are open for participation by all employees. They help to reduce barriers to progress by promoting advocacy and awareness. I encourage our employees to schedule time to meet with a leader in the group or attend a group meeting/event.
Celebrating our dimensions and differences does not exclude, but rather it serves as a forum for learning by all. Learn more about our ANGs today and how you can implement something similar at your company!