If you’re like most people coming out of school right now—aka 77 percent of Gen Z students and recent grads—then you’re looking for a company that values diversity and inclusion (D&I). But what does that really mean? Is it as simple as joining a diverse team? What else should you be looking for in a company?
These are big questions for anyone to be asking, but the team at Thermo Fisher Scientific—a Fortune 200 science company dedicated to making the world healthier, cleaner, and safer—have come up with a few answers. One of the most important is their multiple diverse, global Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).
So, What Are Employee Resource Groups? How Are They Different At Thermo Fisher?
If you’ve done a corporate internship or been on the job hunt lately, then maybe you’ve heard about ERGs. They exist to provide additional community and support to specific groups and identities at large companies. For example, a company might have a group based around African Heritage identity or one for employees who served in the military.
Almost all of these groups put together events like volunteering in the local community and networking sessions, but at Thermo Fisher they take it a step beyond to fully support and foster inclusion amongst all of their colleagues. Their ERGs draw colleagues together around common characteristics and provide a voice of diverse thinking. ERGs positively impact the company’s growth and development, and assist in providing thought leadership for:
- Recruitment and retention
- Education and training
- Professional development
- Community involvement
- Support and recognition
- Business development
- Activities that support a diverse and inclusive work culture
One way they are supported is through active involvement at the C-level. “At Thermo Fisher we have senior-level leaders at our organization who sponsor and help promote the ERGs,” says Cheryl, a Talent Acquisition D&I leader at Thermo Fisher. “They’re a direct line to executives on how to build more diverse teams and more welcoming communities for everyone.”
This means when someone has an idea that can help Thermo Fisher be a more inclusive community or build a more diverse team, they can assist and offer their support to make it happen.
Perhaps someone in the Women’s ERG knows about Women in STEM groups at colleges that could help bring in more female tech talent. Or maybe someone noticed that a cultural event or holiday was going unrecognized by the company. These ERGs give people a platform to not only share their perspectives, but also to have them be heard and acted on.
Finding Your Community, Bringing Your Whole Self To Work
The truth about inclusion is that it’s not just a set of policies or practices. It’s about making sure everyone can find community at work so that they feel comfortable enough to be themselves. Besides the obvious benefits for morale and mental health, when people with diverse perspectives feel comfortable bringing their unique ideas to their work, it has a proven, positive impact on the quality of business decision-making.
“If someone doesn’t feel a sense of inclusion or belonging they may not bring as much of themselves to work,” Cheryl explains. “And we work hard to build a diverse team because we want their unique perspectives.”
These groups, by creating a community for everyone at Thermo Fisher, can bring out all of those positive benefits, both for the employees and the business. That’s also why the groups aren’t limited to just the traditional understanding of diversity, like ethnicity and gender.
“Our groups cover a broad spectrum of interests and identities from ethnicity and gender to early talent, sustainability, working parents, and community action,” Cheryl explains. “Our colleagues have formed 10 different ERG groups, with more opportunities to come.”
All That, Plus They Can Help Accelerate Your Career
At Thermo Fisher, D&I is a team effort. And that effort can mean opportunities for people at all stages of their career to take on new types of challenges. Plus, thanks to the buy-in from leaders at the company, you’ll be supported in balancing the work of your primary role and your assistance in groups like this.
That’s why getting involved with ERGs at Thermo Fisher is a win-win. The company benefits from your perspective and action, and you benefit from a more developed network and unique career opportunities.
One member of the university recruiting team, Emily, noted that, “interns who have been heavily involved in ERGs during their internship are much more likely to receive full-time offers because of all the connections they made during the summer”
One such success story is Sophia, an emerging leader in the company’s IT Development Program. Her involvement with the Asian and Women’s ERGs as an intern led to leadership opportunities in those groups when she joined back with the company full time.
“I joined these ERGs as a way to be more engaged and involved in the community,” Sophia says. But when she took on leadership roles in the ERGs, she got way more than just that.
“This is different from my day job and it exposes me to other functions, too,” Sophia says. ‘It has also been a great way to get my voice heard and network with executive leaders.”
This type of company-wide idea sharing and collaboration isn’t just what makes D&I initiatives work at Thermo Fisher—it’s what drives the whole business.
Want to learn more about this uniquely diverse team? Check out open opportunities at Thermo Fisher on WayUp!
You can also learn about Thermo Fisher Scientific’s ERGs on their website.