In this Region of Choice learning session, a panel of talent development experts shared their experiences and strategies for increasing equitable development for all employees. The session explored common barriers for diverse talent and case studies of programs that are working.
Employee-At-Large Vs. Specialized Programs
- What kinds of training/development does your company offer employees-at-large? How does the talent gain access to these development opportunities (mandatory, referral, lottery, application, etc.)?
- Assuming that companies create leadership and development programs for everyone, what are some of the reasons that underrepresented talent needs something more than the programs mentioned in the question above?
- Is there a large-scale need for leadership development programs that have specifically been designed for people of color (or women and other underrepresented professionals)? Why or why not?
- In your experience, where do underrepresented people generally fall off the leadership and development track? Do people just get stuck? Do they retreat? Are they just being overlooked?
- Thinking about the skills needed to develop into leaders, do people of color tend to be less developed in these skills (communication, persuasion, vision, decisiveness, etc.) If yes, which ones tend to be major development areas?
Examples from Your Company/Program
- What programs are your organization developing for underrepresented groups and what data or experiences contributed to the development of these programs?
- What identity-groups does your company focus on in developing special leadership or career development programs?
- How is your organization using mentorship, outside leadership programs, internal programming (and similar) to support your POC talent’s development needs?
- What’s the difference between these more specialized programs and programs that are designed for employees-at-large?
Region of Choice Meeting – February 21, 2023
Based on early feedback, the discussion panel provided valuable insights that will be helpful in refining or creating ERG/BRGs that drive belonging and advancement for Black and Brown talent.
Key Takeaways – View program notes and some key takeaways from today’s meeting. Feel free to combine them with your own notes and share with others in your organization.
Handouts – Thank you to our panelist, Julia Smith, for sharing a template for ERG organizational structure, mission, and benefits.
Wellness Check Wednesday – As Walter Lanier mentioned in our meeting, he is a featured speaker in today’s We Exist program around Milwaukee’s African American Wellness Index. Learn more or register for the program here.
Resources Referenced – Here are links to the two books that were referenced during today’s discussion: 1) The New DEI and ERG Frontier and 2) Supercharge Your ERGs: 18 Tips to Power-Up Your ERG/BRG Strategy.
Connect w/ Panelists – Special thanks to our panelists for their insight and transparency. Feel free to reach out and connect with them on LinkedIn:
Mark Your Calendars
Please mark your calendar for the following ROC Rep Meetings all to be held from 8:30am-10:30am virtually or location TBD:
- April 18 (virtual)
- July 18 (in-person)
- September 19 (virtual)
- November 14 (in-person)
To achieve your inclusion goals, use a metrics-based approach
by Joan C. Williams & Jamie Dolkas, Harvard Business Review
Published March/April 2022
Many companies today recognize that workforce diversity is both a moral imperative and a key to stronger business performance. U.S. firms alone spend billions of dollars every year to educate their employees about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). But research shows that such training programs don’t lead to meaningful change. What’s necessary, say the authors, is a metrics-based approach that can identify problems, establish baselines, and measure progress.
Company managers and in-house lawyers often worry that collecting diversity data may yield evidence of discrimination that can fuel lawsuits against them. But there are ways to minimize the legal threats while still embracing the use of metrics.
The authors suggest first determining your risk tolerance and then developing an action plan. You will need to track both outcome metrics and process metrics and act promptly on what you find. Starting with a pilot program can be a good idea. You should also build the business case for intervention, control expectations through careful messaging, and create clear protocols for accessing, sharing, and retaining DEI data. >> Read the full article
Building a pipeline of future talent and leaders begins long before candidates apply for your positions. Many of us have experienced the personal and professional advantages of having a mentor – key figures that light the path for the future.
MMAC’s Region of Choice program on September 16 – Driving Equity through Mentorship – showcased several agencies that work with students, young professionals and businesses. These relationships have the potential to change lives, close representation gaps and create opportunity pipelines that include historically excluded talent.
The event featured a presentation by LaNelle Ramey, executive director of Mentor Greater Milwaukee. This organization builds the capacity of existing mentoring organizations matching a caring adult with children in need through effective mentoring programs throughout Greater Milwaukee.
“The gift of mentorship is rooted in learning from one another. I value reciprocal mentoring relationships that reinforce the value of both parties.
When organizations create space for internal mentorship between executives and the broader workforce, employees gain access to people, information and experiences that foster increased engagement and inclusion, ultimately developing more productive and healthy people.”
Chief Communications & Diversity Officer
Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin and Metropolitan Chicago, Inc.
Please reach out to our featured mentor programs for more information:
When Geraud Blanks was a kid, he didn’t know what he wanted to do when he grew up. Blanks — who is now chief innovation officer at Milwaukee Film — just knew he loved movies.
“When I was growing up, it was me and my mother going to the movies every weekend. It was our thing,” said Blanks. “Whatever the last movie I saw, if it was about karate or firefighters or whatever, that’s what I wanted to do with my life. Every week I changed my dream.”
The power of film to inspire through storytelling stuck with Blanks, and he said it perfectly aligns with the mission of Milwaukee Film, including its work with businesses such as Kohl’s.
In addition to screening films at Oriental Theatre and hosting the annual Milwaukee Film Festival, the organization’s Cultures and Communities initiative focuses on using film to share the stories of historically underrepresented communities, including members of the Black, Latinx and LGBTQ communities.
Using film to create conversations
When the COVID-19 pandemic closed down movie theaters and canceled events in 2020, staff at Milwaukee Film had to figure out how to continue sharing stories through movies. And the death of George Floyd and resulting civil rights marches made the Cultures and Communities mission to build empathy through sharing other people’s perspectives even more urgent. MORE >