Creating a diverse, inclusive work environment through Employee Resource Groups
February 26, 2019
February 26, 2019
What are ERGs and who are they for?
An employee resource group (ERG) is a voluntary, employee-led group that provide support and enhance career development to those that join. They usually focus on underrepresented groups that share common characteristics or experiences—examples include sexual orientation, gender, cultural diversity, and disabilities. A successful ERG will not only help an employee’s professional network but will also have the potential to establish greater equality and help make people feel more comfortable within their organization. ERGs give a voice to unique thinking, different view points, and new perspectives—they allow employees to be heard.
ERGs help to foster community and engagement at work, establish a collective voice, and help people get outside their comfort zones. Here at Stantec, we have seven ERGs on the go: Women@Stantec, PRIDE@Stantec, Latino@Stantec, Individuals with Disabilities@Stantec, Cultural Awareness & Inclusion@Stantec, Indigenous Connections@Stantec, and Military Advocates and Veterans@Stantec (MAVA).
Our ERGs are inclusive. All employees have access to them and are encouraged to join as many as they’d like—for example, you don’t have to be a woman to join the Women@Stantec group, and you don’t have to be military to join the MAVA group.
PRIDE@Stantec is a safe and supportive space for LGBTQ2+ colleagues and allies working to build a culture of acceptance and inclusiveness in the workplace.
“The Pride@Stantec ERG is important because it relates to all of us. Whether you identify as being part of the LGBTQ2+ community, or have friends and family members that do, our groups are building safe and supportive environments by sharing resources and bringing people together.” - Peter Robertson, Senior Graphic Designer out of the Vancouver BC office.
Women@Stantec is dedicated to helping women build confidence, expanding their sphere of influence, and removing obstacles and biases to allow equal advancement.
“At its heart, Women@Stantec is about encouraging personal and career development, sharing knowledge and tools, engaging our employees, and inspiring strong leaders. For me, the personal connections that I’ve made with women at all levels across the organization are what makes Women@Stantec such a powerful resource.” – Katherine Hewitt, Corporate Integrity Lead out of the Broomfield, CO office.
The vision for the LiS ERG is to empower Stantec employees to serve as role models, work with their communities, and become leaders within our organization. LiS has three major components: educational outreach, community involvement, and professional networking—these components give flexibility for each city to adapt to their individual needs and implement as they see fit.
“Lunchtime Spanish classes have been offered through this ERG, and are benefiting the entire office. Providing the basics to the employees elevates them to feel more confident in these interactions and make them more approachable.” – Valeria Sierra, Designer out of the Austin, TX office.
The IWD ERG is an international/virtual place for all people who identify as a person with a disability or the caretaker of a person with a disability, and may not have enough people within their office to form a support group.
“This ERG has just started; we have laid out the foundations so that we can best support those who identify with our group. We’ve been working with the Accommodations/Leave group with HR to create a presentation to allow staff to know what kinds of accommodations are available to them as employees, and how to request them properly.” – Leanne Barbon, Lead Office Coordinator out of the Victoria, BC office.
This ERG centres itself around investing in diversity and promoting cultural awareness. Their vision is to encourage a welcoming environment of inclusiveness and provide helpful information for those entering the Stantec workforce.
“This ERG is important because as a global company and living in such a mobile world, we need to understand each other to communicate successfully. Knowledge and understanding reduces misinterpretation both verbally and socially. We need to understand to reduce the fear of the unknown and learn to accept, appreciate, and value our world neighbours, so let’s help our neighbours thrive.” – Sally Shaxted, HR Business Partner out of the Red Deer, AB office.
This exciting new ERG is a dedicated space to discuss and learn more about Indigenous cultures, histories, and values. It also creates a space for employees to discuss Stantec's role and responsibility in Indigenous relations.
The MAVA ERG, just like the persons with disabilities ERG, is all online. The vision for this ERG is to have Stantec become recognized as a military-friendly employer and the employer of choice for veterans, reservists, and their families.
“The MAVA ERG is important to Stantec because it allows our company to demonstrate their appreciation of the special skillsets and experiences of those who have served their country and all that they bring to the company in form of experience, leadership, and dedication.” – John Malevich, Security Operations Manager out of the Montreal, QC office.