Embraced. Empowered. Engaged. This is the philosophy that drives Aetna’s nationally- recognized diversity program which empowers employees to impact the future of the workplace and the community. For Aetna, diversity is a force for business growth and expanded opportunities.
One of the successful strategies Aetna has implemented is the establishing of Employee Resource Groups. These groups are internal organizations which are company-supported and employee-managed. They bring together like-minded employees around common interests, backgrounds and experiences, offering opportunities for employees to learn about and better appreciate employees of diverse backgrounds. They also allow employees to share their diverse expertise and perspectives, give back to the community and help Aetna meet business objectives by providing valuable feedback and insight.
Nationally, Aetna has 15 distinct Employee Resource Groups (ERG’s). Jacksonville boasts seven local chapters: African-American ERG; Hispanic ERG; Women’s ERG; Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Ally ERG; Veterans ERG; Generation-X ERG and Generation-Y ERG. In an effort to ensure that every employee feels valuable and included, the groups meet to support one another and their common goals. They also reach out to other Aetna employees to create bridges across cultures.
Last August, the Jacksonville ERGs along with the Aetna Volunteer Council held a Back to School Supply Drive to support students at four local high schools in an effort to help increase performance levels and improve FCAT scores.
The African-American ERG participates in the City of Jacksonville’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade, the MLK Breakfast, American Heart Association Heart Walk and more. They also host many activities for employees, including a Juneteenth Celebration where they sponsor free blood pressure screenings for employees.
Last year, The Generation-Y ERG contributed $400 to the March of Dimes Jacksonville campaign, donated funds for local youth to attend a Harlem Globetrotters game and mentored local youth as part of Aetna’s Professional Opportunities Program for Students summer internship.
The Generation-X ERG invited its members to participate in several professional development leadership video webcasts hosted by the national chapter. These webcasts featured Gen X senior leaders who personally shared their leadership strategies, talked about their career paths and the importance of mentoring and ways to build leadership skills.
As just one aspect of the company’s broad commitment to diversity, Aetna’s Employee Resource Groups highlight similarities, celebrate differences and accentuate the value of diversity at Aetna, making Aetna a shining example of bringing people together to be the change – in their workplace, and in the community.
Because of their commitment to embracing diversity, Aetna is the 2012 recipient of our prestigious Edward R. Hayes Unity in Action Award which will be presented on April 19th at Celebrate!GOOD.