- What are AAPI Employee Resource Groups?
- Why are we talking about it? Why do companies build AAPI Employee Resource Groups?
- Benefits for the company
- Benefits for AAPI Employees
- Examples of AAPI ERGs and their mission statements
- How to start an AAPI Employee Resource Group at your organization
- Naming your Asian American and Pacific Islander ERG, How crucial is it?
- Growing and Engaging Your Employee Resource Group
What are AAPI Employee Resource Groups?
AAPI ERG stands for Asian American and Pacific Islander Employee Resource Group. An AAPI Employee Resource Group (ERG) can provide a platform for employees to connect, share their experiences, and advocate for themselves and their communities. An employee-led group within a company provides support, resources, and advocacy for employees who identify as Asian American or Pacific Islander or are connected to these communities.
Why are we talking about it? Why do companies build AAPI Employee Resource Groups?
AAPIs represent a significant and growing consumer base:
- The Asian American population is the fastest-growing racial or ethnic group in the United States, growing 29% between 2010 and 2020 (U.S. Census Bureau).
- In 2020, the buying power of Asian Americans was about $1.3 trillion and was projected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2025 (Nielsen).
- AAPI consumers are more likely to be early adopters of technology and digital media, with 84% owning smartphones and 77% being active on social media (Nielsen).
By supporting AAPI ERGs, companies can gain insights into AAPI cultures, values, and preferences, which can inform marketing strategies and improve customer engagement.
Benefits for the company
A report by McKinsey & Company found that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 36% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
- Diversity & Inclusion: By providing a platform for employees to connect, share their experiences, and advocate for themselves and their unique perspectives, AAPI ERGs can help create a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
- Retention: AAPI ERGs also help companies attract and retain top talent by demonstrating a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Improved workflow & decisions: A diverse workforce has been shown to improve innovation and decision-making, leading to better business outcomes.
Benefits for AAPI Employees:
- Community building: AAPI ERGs provide a supportive community for employees to connect with others who share their cultural backgrounds and experiences.
- Professional development: Opportunities for leadership development, networking, and skill-building, helping employees advance their careers are offered.
- Advocacy: They advocate for the needs and concerns of Asian American and Pacific Islander employees, promoting equity and inclusion in the workplace.
- Employee engagement: AAPI ERGs can help improve employee engagement by creating a more supportive and inclusive workplace culture that values diversity and recognizes the contributions of all employees.
- Cultural awareness: The organization promotes cultural awareness and sensitivity in the workplace, educating colleagues on AAPI cultures, traditions, and experiences.
Examples of AAPI ERGs and their mission statements
So far we’ve read about what AAPI ERGs are and what are their benefits and goals; before you jump into how one can start an AAPI ERG at their workplace, take a look at some successful ERG examples and their mission statements that can not only provide insights on why other organizations build AAPI ERGs but also inspire your own AAPI ERG:
Susan Cheng, Senior Associate Dean and associate professor, and Jesse Szeto, Senior Director, led the formation of AAPI ERG at Georgetown university. What started as a lunch group in 2018 has now evolved into a full-fledged ERG that cultivates an inclusive and supportive environment at Georgetown and provides employees with opportunities for networking and community-building. Their mission statement reads as follows:
The ERG will highlight the diversity of our community from Pacific Islanders to South Asians to Southeast Asians to East Asians. They aim to cultivate an inclusive and supportive environment at Georgetown and provide employees with opportunities for networking and community-building.
The Asian and Pacific Islander American Employee Resource Group (APIA ERG) provides a platform for employees to connect, celebrating their diverse cultures and experiences, and advocating for their needs and concerns. Their mission statement is as follows:
APIA ERG aims to foster a sense of community and belonging by creating a safe space for APIA employees with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and points of view. Highlight the diverse cultures of the APIA community through storytelling, advocacy, and other work deemed appropriate by the ERG. Support APIA employees’ professional development through networking and learning opportunities
Corning has a diverse workforce of over 1,200 Asian employees in the United States, hailing from various cultures across the globe. Corning sponsors about 15 ERGs that covers all race, culture, and ethnicity. Their mission statement for Asian employees ERG is as follows:
The Employee Resource Groups for Asian employees at Coring promote an inclusive environment for all Asian employees. These groups provide their members with the ability to share their cultural heritage through cultural events, offer educational and professional development opportunities, networking, and social gatherings.
Presided by Tomoko Wakabayashi, Oakland university’s AAPI ERG strives to raise awareness of AAPI issues, support AAPI faculty and staff, foster discussion and an inclusive environment and improve reporting transparency at OU. Their mission statement is as follows:
The AAPI Employee Resource Group is a staff- and faculty-driven collective dedicated to supporting and advocating on behalf of all Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander employees at Oakland University (OU).
Portland State University
The vision of the PSU API ERG is to empower Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander employees to create an inclusive, just, and equitable community. Their mission statement:
The Portland State University (PSU) Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander Employee Resource Group (API ERG) provides an inclusive space to advocate for the diverse needs of PSU API faculty, staff, students, and alumni; including, but not limited to Supporting and empowering API students, Recruitment and retention of API faculty, staff, and student employees, Facilitating professional development, Promoting API educational, cultural and social awareness. Their mission aligns with PSU's diversity initiatives and strategic goals, as well as provides leadership regarding PSU API faculty, staff, student, and alumni issues.
Chaired by Sandy Roth and Alicia Chang, the Berkeley Lab API ERG community envisions an environment where API members can be their authentic selves, valued, and supported to achieve their full potential. A diverse community that recognizes and supports individual contributions, celebrates each other and stands together. Their mission statement reads as follows:
The Asian and Pacific Islander Employee Resource Group is committed to:
- Ensuring API employees have access to the support and capacity building they need to reach their fullest potential,
- Sharing and raising awareness about issues facing API employees and the community at large,
- Educating the Lab community about the rich and varied cultures encompassed by API heritage,
- Partnering with other ERGs to ensure equity of opportunity and recognition for all,
- Serving as a resource for the wider Lab community to further the IDEA effort,
- Stand in solidarity against racial inequity and discrimination in all forms within our Lab community and working to build an environment that provides equal respect and opportunity for all.
PJM Asian American Employee Resource Group
PJM’s Asian American Employee Resource Group aims to Inspire and raise awareness of Asian cultures through events, share leadership and career development, invite speakers, and offer volunteer opportunities. Their mission statement reads as follows:
The Asian American employee resource group is dedicated to promoting Asian American employees the opportunity to interact with one another and share cultural and career inspirations within PJM and outside the company to a larger community in the industry. All PJM employees are welcome to join the ERG for networking, culture sharing, career development, and all other activities. The group meets several times a year to work on ideas that have a common interest within the group.
Los Alamos National Laboratory
The API employee resource group was established in 2019 by Lab director Thom Mason to foster inclusivity and advocate for API needs, connections, and equity. Their mission statement:
API employee resource group’s mission is to be a resource for individuals of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) backgrounds and create advocacy within the Lab. They strive to be an inclusive place for API Lab employees to come and celebrate achievements within the community.
ASPIRE’s founding members Wei Qiu, Dapeng Wu, Vaishali Jayaprakash, Soofia, and Koyin Shih are motivated towards making strong connections with many AAPI ERGs and uplifting API voices and perspectives. Progress’s ASPIRE- API ERG mission statement:
ASPIRE- API ERG is committed to
- Connect APIs and allies and provide a safe space to share challenges and support each other.
- Celebrate and promote the unique cultures, voices, and viewpoints of the API community.
- Coach and counsel APIs in career development and networking.
- Communicate and encourage conversations that broaden the awareness of the API community and APAC region.
- Contribute to our local communities through outreach activities.
Johnson & Johnson
The founding members of ASIA were Dr. Kapil Dhingra and Dr. Alex Chang, who recognized the need to create a space for Asian employees to connect, collaborate, and drive innovation within the company. The founding members of SAPNA, including Rajendra Aneja, Arun Kumar, and Aparna Murthy, recognized the need to support and promote South Asian employees within the company, and to foster a more inclusive workplace culture. Their mission statement reads as follows:
Johnson & Johnson’s Asian Society for Innovation and Achievement (ASIA), and South Asian Professional Network Association (SAPNA) ERGs represent a network of Asian leaders and employees working toward accelerating the growth, development, and visibility of Asian talent through coaching, mentoring, and leadership development initiatives and showcasing cultural diversity. In addition, the groups offer networking and opportunities to be engaged in community service and process/ product innovation that contribute to business growth.
How to start an AAPI Employee Resource Group at your organization
The Steps to starting an AAPI ERG at your workplace include:
- Surveying your existing employees
- Setting up goals and missions
- Seeking executive sponsorship
- Recruiting members and electing leaders
- Setting Agenda
- Organizing your first meeting
Naming your Asian American and Pacific Islander ERG, How crucial is it?
Sometimes a book is judged by its cover and in this case, the name of your ERG is the cover. The AAPI ERG’s name indirectly determines the areas it will focus on and tackle. When choosing a name for an AAPI ERG, it is important to consider the following factors:
- Inclusivity: The name should reflect the diversity of AAPI cultures and ethnicities, and avoid stereotypes or cultural appropriation.
- Representation: The name should be representative of the group's mission and objectives, and reflect the needs and concerns of AAPI employees. Remember that in the end the goal is to conquer with unity not divide and conquer.
- Accessibility: The name should be easy to remember and pronounce, and not overly long or complicated.
- Creativity: The name should be unique and creative, while still being appropriate for the workplace.
Growing and Engaging Your Employee Resource Group
Growing your ERG:
- Host open sessions and events
- Market your ERG
- Inform new employees
- Collaborate with other ERGs
Engaging your ERG:
- Organize meetings and reviews
- Host engagement activities
- Build an annual volunteering calendar
That’s a wrap on our Guide to AAPI ERGs. We hope this was helpful. Access more of our resources on ERGs, and plan engaging and impactful activities for your AAPI ERG, take a look at our events and activities section.
For any other questions or feedback, or if you are an ERG expert and would like to write for our ERG resource room, reach out to us at email@example.com.