The way employees identify themselves is changing dramatically. According to the United States Census Bureau, the number of non-Hispanic Americans who identify as multiracial increased by 127 percent from 2010 to 2020. For people who identified as Hispanic, the increase was even higher. Younger people are much more likely to see themselves as multiracial and to align with several dimensions of diversity, such as having a disability (including neurodiversity) or being a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
Some employers, recognizing this growing intersectionality, have been moving away from traditional affinity-based employee resource groups, preferring to address all “multicultural” needs together. They have created Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) councils, also known as inclusion councils, that have representatives from various affinities but look at DEI issues more holistically. Employers also are responding to requests from some employees who feel that affinity-based groups are unfair to those who haven’t been historically marginalized. This is similar to the argument that hiring/recruiting should be color-blind and that affirmative action unfairly discriminated against those not considered underrepresented.
With these trends in mind, Seramount asked this critical question: Are affinity-based ERGs (centered on individual dimensions of diversity) still necessary? A Seramount survey of more than 200 ERG members finds the answer is a resounding yes.
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