Employee-led groups assist University in recruitment, retention

by Cidni Sanders

ThriveSandra Garcia, Nina Holdread, Diana Placzkowski, Cindy Sachire and Ann Hastings, THRIVE! officers

Eric Love is encouraging the campus community to take advantage of some new resources to aid in the recruitment and retention of diverse employees.

Employee resource groups (ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led groups created by a shared characteristic, interest or life experience.

Three groups currently exist at Notre Dame: the Black Faculty and Staff Association, THRIVE! Women’s Leadership and Young Leaders of Notre Dame. A fourth group focusing on the Hispanic community just completed its charter and will soon begin accepting members. And work is under way to establish an international group as well as an LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning) group.

Love, director of staff diversity in the Office of Human Resources, says Notre Dame’s employee resource groups are a valuable tool not only for traditionally underrepresented populations, but also for the University as a whole. “Many people think of ERGs only in terms of the social networking and community building they provide for their members,” Love says. “In fact, many organizations across the country are also realizing benefits from the groups’ contributions to professional development and volunteerism efforts, applicant sourcing, employee satisfaction and customer insights.”

Part of the mission of Young Leaders of Notre Dame, launched in 2015, is to provide educational initiatives that ensure the continued growth and strength of the University community. The group’s events and opportunities — such as facilitating mentoring relationships and its Learning from Leaders initiative — are focused on meeting the needs of those employees younger than 45.

The Black Faculty and Staff Association, which began meeting in 2002, recently assisted the Center for Stem Research in its recruitment efforts. Prior to bringing in an African-American postdoctoral candidate for an interview, the center reached out to Love for assistance in highlighting local and culturally relevant religious institutions, community organizations and businesses. Love promptly contacted the Black Faculty and Staff Association, which provided valuable information to help the candidate learn more about what it would be like to live in the region.

Membership in the employee resource groups is primarily targeted to staff, but faculty members are welcomed to join as well. In addition, there are no requirements that one must be female to join THRIVE! Women’s Leadership, a millennial or Gen-Xer to join Young Leaders of Notre Dame, or of African descent to join the Black Faculty and Staff Association.

“The great thing about these groups is that they are inclusive. Each will open its doors for anyone who is passionate about the issues impacting the target audience of the group,” says Love. “I hope to see membership increase in our existing employee resource groups and for interest to grow in starting new groups to address any unmet needs on campus,” he says.

The Office of Human Resources provides seed funding for the employee resource groups, which can use the money to bring in speakers, cater meetings or host other events. And an HR liaison is provided for each ERG to assist the group with its charter, policies, budget or other need.

For more information about the Black Faculty and Staff Association, contact Brenda Hunt, president, at bhunt4@nd.edu; THRIVE! Women’s Leadership, contact thrive@nd.edu; for Young Leaders of Notre Dame, contact youngleaders@nd.edu. To inquire about starting an employee resource group, contact Eric Love at elove1@nd.edu.