Editor's Note: Employee networks and affinity groups are increasingly becoming an essential part of an inclusive and productive corporate environment. More and more companies are reaping the benefits: attracting and retaining talent, improving employee morale, and having a positive impact on the community. For some advice on how to get the most out of these groups we turned Michael J. Scannell, senior vice president and head of Global Inclusion at State Street Corporation, a financial service provider with a reputation for superior and extensive employee networks.
How does State Street engage its employees most effectively? By working at the grassroots level to establish more than 50 employee networks across 26 offices globally.
Employee networks are sponsored by Global Inclusion, a company-wide initiative to ensure State Street employees feel valued and engaged by recognizing and utilizing their unique talents. Research indicates that more engaged employees will ultimately deliver better business results, helping to make State Street a stronger company.
Employee networks are created by those wishing to increase their visibility within State Street and to share their unique perspectives with the company. Open to all employees, these networks create volunteer, career development and cultural opportunities that align with members' goals and interests. Last year, more than 15,000 employees attended at least one of the 402 employee network events at State Street.
Volunteering in the community is central to State Street's culture and its employee networks, giving back to the communities in which we live and work by organizing volunteer events throughout the year: The Chinese Professional Network sponsors and participates in Boston's Dragon Boat Festival annually; the Japan Family Network hosts a community family day to offer support for those dealing with aging parents; and the Black Professionals Group regularly supports the BELL Foundation's Summer Opportunities Fair, providing more than 150 under-served middle schoolers and their families with in-depth exposure to summer educational programs and services.
Role in the Recruitment Process
In addition to hosting events, employee networks are active supporters in State Street's recruitment process. Network leaders volunteer to represent State Street at key diversity sponsorship opportunities and recruiting events such as the Massachusetts Conference for Women, the Alliance for Latin Professionals in Finance and Accounting National Convention, and the Spirit Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Executive Networking Night.
Employee Network Internal Recognition
Internally, State Street has created a Global Inclusion Spot Award Program to honor those who have gone above and beyond in driving employee engagement at State Street. Additionally, State Street has established the Voices of Inclusion Program, designed to provide employee network leaders with an opportunity to directly connect with State Street's Management Committee, the company's most senior strategy and policy-making team. This program allows network leaders to engage with our senior management globally about their experiences at State Street.
Employee Network External Recognition
The work of State Street's employee network leaders has also been recognized within their communities. A member of the Black Professionals Group was recently honored at the 36th Annual YMCA Achievers Recognition Awards Gala. Another employee network leader was recently featured in a local newspaper for her positive experiences living and working as a transgender woman. In the piece, she made mention of State Street's support in embracing and accommodating her transition. As a member of State Street PRIDE's steering committee, she is committed to providing personal and professional development opportunities for GLBT employees within the company.
Looking to the future, State Street's Global Inclusion program remains focused on strengthening employee involvement by educating managers to encourage participation in network events and initiatives to foster professional development and increase engagement levels. This continues to be an area of opportunity for State Street and has resulted in a partnership between Global Inclusion and its Talent Management Center of Expertise to develop diversity and inclusion programs for managers.
State Street Employee Networks
Below is a partial list of State Street's employee networks. In most instances, multiple chapters of these groups exist in various locations.
- Asian Professional Group
- Bible Study Group
- Black Professionals Group
- Catholic Employee Network
- Chinese Professional Network
- Disability Awareness Alliance
- Global Administrative Assistants Network
- Indian Employee Network
- International Cultural Exchange Group
- Irish-American Professionals Group
- Italian American Professional Network
- Jewish Professional Group
- Latin American Professionals Network
- Military Employee and Family Member Network
- Muslim Employee Group
- State Street Connect
- State Street PRIDE
- Professional Women's Networks
- UK Families Network
- Working Parents Group