During the national conversations about race and injustice in June 2020, Fender’s employees, in partnership with Human Resources, held meetings to discuss current events and how to create diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives to ensure that all employees felt supported and that Fender’s activities reflected these values.
Fender reached out to other companies in the National Association of Manufacturers network to collect information about other ERG models, getting benchmark data from 15 companies and holding in-depth discussions with ten companies. Drawing from the models of other companies, Fender’s HR team identified the portions of the other models that would fit Fender’s priorities and needs best. As a driving force, the team articulated their goal as “creating a place where all employees feel comfortable and confident speaking up and creating allies who can be leaders throughout the entire company.” As a company, Fender “supports the formation of ERGs with the primary focus of supporting our strategic business initiatives, providing networking and professional development opportunities, supporting community outreach programs, promoting workplace belonging and raising cultural awareness.”
Each ERG has an executive sponsor, an HR lead, a staff president, and two co-leads. Each ERG must have at least 10 members and plans activities around one of the 4 Cs that Fender identified as priorities:
- Careers: How do we ensure that our staff is representative of our communities and customer base? Who is being left out of hiring/retention efforts and how can we change that?
- Culture: How do we create a place where everyone communicates and feels heard, rather than having “silos” or people isolated by sites/offices/departments?
- Commerce: Do our business practices align with our DEI values and goals?
- Community: How do we use our company’s particular strengths and values, including employee skills, industry connections, and manufacturing capacity, to serve our community?
The biggest impact of Fender’s ERGs has been the level of support employees feel from their colleagues, HR, and leadership. During a year that has been turbulent for everyone in different ways, Fender’s employees have felt comfortable sharing how current events are affecting them, knowing that the company will back them up if they experience discrimination or injustice of any kind.
- UNDERSTAND ORGANIZATIONAL NEEDS AND YOUR ORGANIZATION’S STARTING POINT
- SET EXPECTATIONS FOR THE INITIATIVE(S)
- STRENGTHEN YOUR HR TEAM
- BE OPEN TO ADJUSTMENTS