Updated: Feb 18
In the age of the coronavirus, it may seem absolutely ridiculous to even think about what your company is doing to promote diversity and inclusion in this exact moment. With dwindling revenues, loss of customers, and the panicked scramble to move your entire workforce towards working from home, your company’s commitment to inclusion is probably the last thing on your mind. And we understand that — for the first few days, or maybe even weeks, you are probably going to be in survival mode. The news and regulations surrounding changes to normal life in the United States due to the coronavirus changes day by day, and even hour by hour.
It is important to realize, though, that your employees are your best asset, and many of them may be experiencing unique struggles due to the coronavirus. Your employees who may be on the autism spectrum are likely struggling with the disruption of the routine even more than you are. Your employees who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents are thinking about how all the societal upheaval is going to complicate their immigration status. How do you continue to support your employees during this time?
Teleskope’s Employee Resource Groups, or ERGs, are the perfect solution. These groups are designed to bring groups of employees who all share a certain identity together, in order to provide them with support and resources. Common examples of ERG’s include an ERG for women in the workforce, one for Latinx employees, one for employees who identify as members of the LGBTQ community. Whether you already have these groups up and running and are looking to expand, or you want to get these groups going for the first time within your company, ERG’s can make a big difference.
You may be wondering, that sounds great and all, but how are my employees supposed to connect as a group when the best thing to slow the spread of the coronavirus is for people to not interact? The infrastructure for Teleskope’s ERG’s is actually already optimized for a world of social distancing. Our ERG management software, Affinities ERG Management, provides an easy to use platform to set up and run your ERG’s. You can organize your ERG rosters, keep track of each group’s budget, and even schedule events. Just keep in mind that with the coronavirus, you are going to want those events to take place virtually — now might be a good time to invest in an online meeting management software, if you have not already. But remember that online platforms like Zoom do not have to be strictly used for dry, structured work meetings. Your ERG’s can connect with each other to provide some much needed social communication, such as a Black Employees ERG Virtual Happy Hour. BYOB, obviously.
ERG’s can also be an effective way to communicate with your employees about necessary updates and changes in your company’s functioning. Again, with the coronavirus situation evolving on an hour by hour basis, there are probably a lot of instances where you are going to want to reach all of your employees at once, stat. Announcements and crisis communication can get a little intense when they are always conveyed over email — plus, your employees may be practicing self care and trying to put a little distance between themselves and their work emails, now that they are all working from home. Communicating via a more lighthearted, social platform designed to bring employees together, like an ERG, may be just what you need to keep your employees informed, connected, and supported through the coronavirus crisis.