Affinity Circles, Resource Groups and Networks

January 14, 20151 minute read

Many companies with successful diversity programs offer opportunities for people with similar interests or backgrounds or demographics to form affinity circles – also called resource groups or networks. Often these circles include one for up-and-coming women. The goal is to increase engagement of employees and create a company culture that is more open and balanced. At the CSCMP global conference, a session on “Diversity Programs that Gain Competitive Advantage,” one of six sessions powered by AWESOME, included as a panelist Imelda Laborde, Director, Human Resources, Alcoa Forgings and Extrusions. She offered the following suggestions to boost the effectiveness of affinity circles:
•   Find a passionate leader
•   Invite others to join the circle
•   Survey members as to what they really want and need
•   Get a top executive as a sponsor
•   Plan activities in line with what the members want – some common ones are programs that feature company leaders, involvement in recruiting efforts, participation in community projects.

Another panelist – Meghan Murray, Principle, PwC – said her company’s groups are “focused on how we are going to help people continue to find a voice and continue to find more meaningful leadership and levels of responsibility within the firm.”