Listening to each other
Over the past year, events in the United States and worldwide spotlighted the importance of strengthening our commitment to diversity and inclusion. Our colleagues in North America continue to implement initiatives and programs to empower our employees: “We want there to be opportunities to bring about awareness, spark new, bold conversations and ideas, which will lead to more inclusive programs and processes”, shared Sharnell Jones, our Manager of Human Resources for North America.
The team is creating Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), which are voluntary, employee-led groups that share a common interest, such as race, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, experience, or a common bond. The groups provide a safe space for employees to support each other, focus on career development, and support the organization. ERGs also encourage a culture of inclusiveness and belonging.
Many events have already taken place and are in the process of being integrated. Some examples of groups that employees have expressed interest range between women in the workplace, young professionals, veterans, workers with disabilities, indigenous people, and LGBTQIA+. Initiatives include Unconscious Bias and psychological safety training, Celebrating Black History Month, and international women’s.
“These groups will be a part of the Employee Experience in 2021 and beyond. The groups will open the doors for other groups to form. ERGs are employee-led by those individuals interested in being a part of it. However, each group will have a member of Human Resources dedicated to the group as a form of support/as a resource”, shared Derrick Krueger, Director of Human Resources, North America.
“The ERG introduction meeting received positive feedback, including employees following up to request to be a part of different groups like military veterans”, said Derrick. All meetings are virtual due to Covid-19 and will likely remain to avoid any ecological impact caused by travel. Meeting with colleagues who share common interests allows employees to connect to the company through parts of their identity that are important to them and fosters a better working environment. These connections promote diversity, equality, and inclusion, giving a voice to people in an underrepresented group in the organization. As part of the roadmap, we see ERGs as essential to increasing engagement among Umicore colleagues. It provides opportunities for all employees to sit at the table and new ways to hear their voices.
“It is important for us to provide equal opportunities for all employees to have a seat at the table
and for their voices to be heard.”
Sharnell Jones, HR Manager North America