For the second straight year, Ingersoll Rand hosted a conference for customers, corporate partners and employees to share best practices for improving and promoting Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).
Ideas, connections, enlightenment – that’s what the 2nd Annual Employee Resource Group (ERG) Summit was all about, as Ingersoll Rand once again took a leadership role in promoting diversity and inclusion. More than 160 people – our customers, corporate partners and employees – took part in a variety of workshops, breakout sessions and networking, all designed to share best practices for promoting ERGs. “Making a Difference Together” was the theme of the summit, which was held at the Herbert L. Henkel Learning Center in Davidson, N.C. from Monday, Aug. 18 to Wednesday, Aug. 20.
“The ultimate goal of the ERGs is to drive transformation in our companies,” said Neddy Perez, vice president of diversity and inclusion, in her opening remarks on Tuesday. “This conference is designed specifically to build our collective skill sets so we can continue to be change agents in our communities and organizations.”
Insight and ideas flew fast the first full day of the conference. Attendees were inspired by personal stories, including those of Ingersoll Rand’s Bobby Katz, senior vice president and general counsel, who talked about growing up as an English-speaker in French-speaking Quebec; and Leandre Adifon, vice president engineering and technology, who shared stories of working with young people with diverse dialects and cultural backgrounds in West Africa, where he grew up.
Next came three simultaneous breakout sessions based on the maturity of the respective companies’ employee resource groups. Participants brainstormed about subjects such as launching and leading an ERG, the role of ERGs in talent acquisition and linking the ERGs to business strategy.
Keynote Speaker Offers Global Perspective
Later that day, keynote speaker Shirley Davis, an accomplished corporate executive, global workforce and talent management strategist, discussed the opportunities the changing global workforce presents to Human Resources professionals. The more diverse, global, hyper-connected and virtual global workforce places a premium on talent and presents an opportunity for human resources professionals to evolve from a transactional to a transformational role to help their organizations succeed, she said.
Ingersoll Rand Leaders Link Diversity to Strategy
The following day was dedicated to Ingersoll Rand participants and, as last year, the names on the agenda attested to the strong support the diversity and inclusion initiative enjoys across the business. Some examples include Marcia Avedon, senior vice president, human resources, communications and corporate affairs; Dion Persson, vice president corporate strategy, marketing; Ginny Mackin, vice president communications and brand management, human resources; and Craig Mundy, vice president enterprise learning and talent management, human resources. They discussed various aspects of how diversity and inclusion fits into the company’s strategic goals, such as such as how an ERG can identify a new market opportunity and the role of an ERG in creating a winning culture.
Other presenters were Briana Sargent, communications business partner, and Carrie Ruddy, director employee communications and engagement, both of corporate affairs, who discussed the importance of our brand as an employer. Also, Perri Richman vice president SBU Communications, discussed the importance of building a leader brand for ERGs; and Jackie LaJoie, manager of supplier diversity, talked about the company’s new Supplier Diversity Ambassador Program.
Driving Organizational Change
Ingersoll Rand now has seven ERGs. The company launched its first ERG, the Women’s ERG, in 2011, rapidly followed by six more: the Black Employee Network (BEN), the New Hire Employee Network, the Veterans ERG (VERG), the Asian ERG, Group of Latinos (GOL!), and the PRIDE ERG, which encompasses lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies.
“The 2nd Annual ERG event was a huge success,” said Perez. “Early feedback tells us the participants found the interactive sessions valuable and the content rich. We are pleased to be a catalyst for sharing skills and best practices that will drive organizational change.”