Highmark Health

Highmark Health’s Business Resource Groups (BRGs) for bolstering employee engagement and business development

Challenge

Highmark Health and its affiliate companies initially created Employee Resource Groups (ERG’s) in 2009. The first two groups formed were BNET—the Black Network and LGBTA—Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender and Allies. Following their success, over the next several years, five additional groups were championed and established, including Veterans, People with Disabilities, Women, Latino and GenNEXT, totaling over 750 members. Most recently, in 2017, an eighth resource group was established—the Asian/Pacifica Islander and Middle East BRG—for official launching in our workforce in 2018. In addition, in 2011, to better emphasize the multi-faceted purpose of the resource groups, the name was changed from employee resource group (ERG) to business resource group (BRG), representing the close alignment to the business that the resource groups play. Highmark Health’s BRGs are aligned to our businesses—supporting them in sales, marketing, customer retention and talent attraction, while also facilitating social camaraderie and community engagement.

Actions

In 2017, to ensure not only sustainable but greater growth and involvement, a strategy was developed to further engage the BRG members with the business, increase support around community involvement and most importantly, provide the membership with additional professional development opportunities, including mentoring and sponsorship. To advance the strategy, The Highmark Health Office of Diversity & Inclusion established a film and speakers series that would provide the BRG members with greater access and exposure to the businesses, the leaders and the BRGs’ respective business sponsors and champions. The  film and speakers series included: (1)Screening of films that  involve cultural change and awareness,  immediately followed by a panel of executives that participate in Q&A dialogue with the audience, (2) Lunch with a VP—A series of lunches where BRG  members have the opportunity to lunch with VP’s and SVP’s from across the organization in small intimate gatherings that allow for Q&A and open dialogue around networking and career advancement, and (3) The Forum for Advancing Careers & Transformation (FACT), a ‘Ted Talks’ type of forum open not only to BRG members but the entire employee population as a whole. Topics included advancing careers and organizational transformation.

Outcomes

The initial feedback, facilitated by surveys and interviews, is overwhelmingly positive. A large proportion of attendees and participants (over 450) found the networking and interaction with the panelists and executives to be extremely helpful and enlightening. In 2018 the program will continue, with three films, three forums and four luncheons planned, along with a women’s summit.

At Highmark Health, we want people to feel comfortable bringing their true, authentic selves to work every day. By being a company that embraces diversity and inclusion, we acknowledge that different views, perspectives, and experiences make us uniquely qualified to meet the diversity of our customers, members, and patients. We each have a responsibility to welcome diverse people and thoughts into our everyday work lives. All voices matter. We understand that all perspectives have a place at the table when striving to meet the needs of our diverse customer base.

David Holmberg, President and CEO, Highmark Health

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