What is an employee network?
Employees have the opportunity to participate in networks that bring together employees with lived experience and their allies.
Employee networks provide a place for people to connect with one another and focus on fostering dialogue around diversity, workplace inclusion and belonging, advice and advocacy. They unite people who share an identity or lived experience with those who support them and who want to learn more about their perspectives and experiences.
An employee network has many benefits for both employees and employers including:
- demonstrating a commitment to being an inclusive and diverse employer that is welcoming and supportive of all employees
- building broader awareness of particular cohorts and breaking down barriers, stigma and negative assumptions those cohorts within the workplace
- attracting a wider pool of candidates to apply for jobs within the organisation
- providing an opportunity for employees to take on a leadership role and building these skills within the workplace.
- increasing engagement and connection between colleagues
- bringing tangible action to workplace values of respect, diversity and inclusion
- creating awareness of diversity and a culture of inclusion for all employees
- providing opportunities to lead strategies and projects outside of an employee’s day-to-day job
- building new networks
- developing personal and professional skills.
Employee networks can be about any group of people. Some common examples of networks are below:
- Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander or Reconciliation Action Plan
- age inclusion
- cultural & linguistic diversity
- disability or disability and carers or ability
- gender equality or gender equity
What can you do?
Find out what your agency is doing in this space and join up. You can be involved as little or as much as you want.
If your agency doesn’t have a network, get together a group of passionate employees to set one up. Speak to your HR team and seek out an SES sponsor or champion. You can also reach out to other agencies who have established well-respected employee networks and learn from them.