Reach, Inspire, Share, Empower: RISE and the Launch of Employee Resource Groups at PSECU

Three business women stretching their hands to the top, together

PSECU has been hard at work developing its Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DIB) movement since 2020. The events surrounding the death of George Floyd spurred a sense of urgency for organizations to ensure their environments are diverse, and that those environments are supported with equitable and inclusive practices. One aspect of PSECU’s DIB movement was the launch of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) in 2022.

ERGs have grown in popularity as diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives have taken hold in the workplace. Employee-led and voluntary, ERGs represent a way to build diversity and inclusion aligned with the organizations they serve. They are typically formed by employees with similar interests or characteristics and give employees a way to cultivate relationships with others as well as develop skills, share experiences and knowledge, and create community within their workplace.

PSECU’s first ERG launched in late September 2022 and is called RISE. RISE is an acronym that stands for Reach, Inspire, Share, Empower.

Reach: encourage RISE members to reach for more in their careers and personal lives

Inspire: provide inspiring and meaningful content, be inspired by fellow RISE members

Share: share knowledge, talents, expertise, experience

Empower: empower RISE members to be their best selves

RISE is an employee resource group welcoming all PSECU employees as members and providing professional and personal development, learning, and engagement opportunities centered on the unique challenges women face at work and at home.

A means to optimizing talent, RISE seeks to encourage the professional and personal development of PSECU’s female employees, at large, and RISE members, specifically, through meaningful programming.

Kate Moyer, RISE’s founder, was inspired to create and lead RISE because of the historic lack of gender diversity in the financial industry. “I’ve worked for several financial institutions (FIs) and was always disappointed by the lack of female leadership,” she explained. “Conversely, all of those FIs’ workforces were majority female, but those percentages didn’t seem to translate into the highest levels of the organization. My thought was: if we can address the unique challenges that women face in the workplace, head on, then we can begin to break down these historic barriers, allowing more and more women to flourish in their careers in the financial world.”

Since its launch, RISE has been offering monthly programming titled “Coffee + Conversation”. Taking place via Microsoft Teams meeting, at the start of a workday, this one-hour program provides attendees with the opportunity to hear from a female PSECU employee. Women at all levels of the organization have been and will be featured. “The idea is that we have something to learn from everyone we work with – not just the people with fancy titles,” Moyer said. Moyer hosts the program, asking a variety of questions and those in attendance are encouraged to ask their own questions, too. The featured guest shares their career journey, any challenges or obstacles they’ve encountered, as well as any successes.

Another program RISE offers is a periodic speaker-led presentation with a female leader from outside of PSECU’s workforce. A local coffee shop owner and a female executive with Foot Locker have been featured guests so far. These events are available in-person and virtually, and are recorded, so that RISE members can access them in the way that is most convenient for them.

RISE has a planning committee comprised of current RISE members. They are responsible for identifying the guests for Coffee + Conversations, as well as curating the list of potential guests and/or topics for the more formal speaker presentations. While still fairly new, the ERG’s goals are to increase the breadth and number of events and programs it offers over time. Already garnering positive feedback from participants, the potential for RISE is tremendous.

If you’re interested in starting an ERG at your own place of employment here are some tips for you to get started.

  1. Have a plan.
    • What’s your ERG’s name, mission, and objectives? Think through those aspects and flesh out the ideas.
  2. Write a formal proposal.
    • This should include the above information but also a road map for success (short-, medium-, and long-term goals) and a budget, if applicable.
  3. Make a business case.
    • This doesn’t mean promising increased sales or revenue; it means tying the ERG back to your organization’s strategic plan or objectives. In the case of RISE, its mission relates to the DIB movement as well as PSECU’s strategic objective to optimize internal talent.
  4. Engage an executive champion.
    • Having an organizational decision maker as your advocate can never hurt. They can help you realize your vision, speak the language of the C-Suite, and help you hone your proposal.
  5. Work collaboratively with other employees who share your vision.
    • Identify peers who share your interest or vision for an ERG and work together to get your group off the ground. The more voices calling for a value-added benefit at work, the better.

Whether your employer has a defined and active diversity initiative, or not, ERGs can be an important way for employees to develop a strong sense of loyalty for and pride in an organization. There’s no denying that employees who feel more connected perform better, which is good for business in the long-term. What are you passionate about? What sort of community is missing from your workplace? Take matters into your own hands and feel empowered to lead the charge in bringing the value of ERGs to your employer.

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