The new ERG PowerTalk podcast focuses on the benefits of employee networks. Employee networks are groups formed by the employees of an organization around specific common aspect of their social identity.
For example, a women’s employee network or a U.S. military veterans network. Employee networks are usually approved of and supported by organizations. (Some companies refer to their employee networks by other names like Business Resources Groups, BRGs, Systems Resource Groups, SRGs, etc).
Employee networks are a vital resource to address the needs of an organization. They can address the need of CEOs to have leaders at every level of their organization and can boost the organizations ability to respond to rapidly changing conditions with speed and agility.
The purpose of the ERG PowerTalk podcast is to increase the specific leadership skill needs of employee network leaders, as well as the affordability, frequency, and accessibility of high-quality learning for network leaders. In order for employee networks to be effective partners in meeting their organizations and members needs, the leaders of these employee networks must be fully developed as leaders of the groups they lead. Unfortunately, traditional approaches for developing the leaders of employee networks often fall short.
Three mistakes are often made in building robust employee network leaders.
First, using online training programs designed to develop new managers do not address the skill needs of people leading network groups as opposed to formal corporate departments. Second, in-person management training can be off-target also in terms of leading employee networks unless the training is customized.
Either way, this type of training is often be expansive, and as a result sparingly used. Third, is training leaders through employee network conferences that only happen once or twice a year and don’t always have a strong training component. Joseph Santana, the host of ERG PowerTalk, says, "Employee operated networks are an essential partner in the current and future success of 21st century companies.
From CEO’s through CHROs and CDOs, everyone agrees that these groups will continue to play a critical role in their organizational success. The effectiveness of these networks in turn is based to a great degree on the skills and passions of their leadership teams. ERG PowerTalk is making employee group leadership development and inspiration affordable by all and accessible by all at any time and any place."
Some business leaders share their experiences with employee networks and their value to their companies: Cathy Jacobson, the president and chief executive officer of Froedtert Health says, “Diversity and inclusion is infused in every area of our health network, from patient care to staff engagement and from workforce development to recruitment. To ensure diversity and inclusion touches all aspects of our work, we leverage the leadership and resources of primarily three levels of multidisciplinary workgroups.
Our Diversity Council is our overarching governing body; Diversity Action Teams connect visions and tactics; and Business Resource Groups execute those initiatives.
With dignity and respect as our foundation, this model is making strides and seeing success.” Jim Dunn, the executive vice president and system chief human resources officer at Atrium Health says, “I see our System Resource Groups as ‘boots on the ground’ for making a positive impact for diversity, inclusion and equity.
They bring passionate people together to engage and influence others, which in turn, directs our system strategy toward more inclusive care for all.” Lorie Valle-Yanez, the chief diversity officer at Mass Mutual says, “We believe our business resource groups are critical to supporting MassMutual’s goals.
Whether by increasing employee engagement, fostering inclusion in the workplace, or having a positive impact in our communities, the BRGs help drive culture change throughout the organization. BRG leaders are often tapped to weigh in on business decisions and matters to help ensure relevance and alignment to both employee and consumers’ hearts and minds.”
Joseph (Joe) Santana is an executive coach, author, and speaker whose personal driving passion is helping the world by developing leaders. He is the CEO of Joseph Santana, LLC, a company that provides leadership training and coaching in the diversity and inclusion space. Joe is the host of the podcast ERG PowerTalk and the chairman of the Institute for Corporate Productivity’s Chief Diversity Officer Board.
As part of his contributions to diversity and inclusion leaders, he freely gives his 60-Second Tips for ERG/BRG Leaders and 60-Second Tips for CDOs email series. Before moving into diversity and inclusion leadership coaching and development, Joe was with Siemens, where he was the architect of a successful strategy that resulted in creating a more engaging, high-performance culture for their 65,000 employees located in the United States.
These efforts were also a key factor in catapulting Siemens government services business in the U.S. Prior to this, Joe headed up a highly profitable 300-employee consulting and outsourcing business at Siemens that served top clients based in the Greater New York area. Since leaving Siemens, Joe has continued his work in the diversity and inclusion space, serving many well-known global organizations and Fortune 500s.
In a parallel career as a thought-leading author, Joe has written thousands of articles, including feature pieces for Chief Executive Magazine, Diversity Executive Magazine, and Insight into Diversity Magazine. He has also created insightful white papers and books that have been published in several languages across several continents, including Asia, Europe, and Africa. His latest book, Supercharge Your ERGs, published in 2018, gives employee network leaders the key skills they need to power-up their group performance.
A sought-after speaker and media commentator, Joe has been quoted in numerous magazines and books, including Thomas Friedman in his 2005 bestseller The World is Flat. He’s also been a guest on podcast, business talk radio, and TV. Listen to the ERG PowerTalk podcast on Google at or on iTunes at