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We have a lot of orange people at ING. What do I mean? I equate orange employees with those who are most engaged. I consider members of our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to represent some of the most orange folks I’ve encountered at ING. We have five ERGs: African American, Asian American, Gay and Lesbian, Latino and Women. Each ERG has local chapter leadership as well as national leadership positions.

I‘ve seen our ERGs transform from primarily networking organizations to ones that offer a tremendous service to the company in the areas of recruitment, retention, professional development and community outreach. They have a real impact on the positive culture in the organization and on the bottom line. In 2008, we realized a 21 percent increase in membership across the ERGs. I know what you might be thinking: this praise is coming from the HR guy in the organization – of course he buys in. I get that in some organizations everyone may not fully understand the value add of ERGs. So how do you change that mindset?

We decided to partner with our Six Sigma team to develop a scorecard for the ERGs to monitor and report a standard set of key performance measures to help us validate the investment we’ve made and demonstrate their impact on the business. Based on feedback and conversations they conducted with employees — ERG leadership, members, managers, etc. — they developed a consistent way to measure the efforts of the ERGs. We believe these measures will be a valuable tool to monitor and share successes, best practices and potential improvement areas. So, what does it look like?

The scorecard includes two types of measures: a standard set of measures that each ERG will track, plus a set of optional measures that can be monitored as appropriate by any or all of the ERGs. The optional measures allow each group flexibility, while still maintaining a standard. Here are a few examples of the metrics:

• Overall diverse representation at the company to determine if we’re employing a more diverse workforce.

• Internal movement of diverse employees to determine if ERG activities are providing development opportunities.

• Number of people impacted by ERG community activities to determine if resource group events are providing opportunity to impact community members and/or ING marketing exposure.

Some of the measures contain data that will be collected centrally through our HR systems, like the percent of diverse employees, while some measures require data that will be tracked by the ERGs such as membership, event participation, leadership/project management opportunities, etc.

Can we see the benefits of the ERGs? Yes. But the proof will be in the data — the data that we believe will allow us to show across the board their value. We’ll have our first scorecard in April; I’m really looking forward to seeing what it tells us.