Affinity Groups – Relevant or Relics?

Affinity groups have been receiving mixed reviews from many of late. These groups have been lauded for improving the business, bolstering employee loyalty, and fostering a sense of community. However, these groups have also been criticized for creating employee silos, encouraging distrust and division, and functioning as mere “gripe sessions.”

Littler Principal Cindy-Ann Thomas and her guests Patty Olsen, Chief Human Resources Officer of Huron, and Dr. Isaac Dixon, Associate Vice-President of Portland State University, examine both the pitfalls and opportunities associated with affinity groups.

They explore the following questions, among many others:

  • Fifty years later, are affinity groups still really necessary? Or are such groups actually more necessary than ever right now, in light of our evolving socio-political climate?
  • What are the reasons behind any increase in cynicism associated with affinity groups and how can they be addressed?
  • When and under what conditions can these groups be successful and relevant?
  • How will affinity groups have to evolve if they are to be viable networks in the future?

This podcast covers both sides of the mounting affinity group debate.

Listen on SoundCloud   |   All Littler Podcasts

Individual “protests” about the very existence of affinity groups or employee resource groups can certainly develop amongst employees within an organization. Will you know how to respond, and will you have the appropriate infrastructure in place that could withstand scrutiny, when faced with a challenge like the one illustrated here in our video “conversation starter” on the subject?

For more information on our Diversity & Inclusion conversation starter videos, visit Littler’s Diversity & Inclusion Video Channel.

The Affiinity Challenge

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.