- Driven in part by an internal employee resource group for individuals with disabilities and their allies, Salesforce has launched a support team to help customers build "accessible environments" on the company's platform, according to an Oct. 12 statement.
- The ERG, AbilityForce, provided the team's vision and was joined by Salesforce's support team leadership as well as its office of accessibility, the company said. Members of the company's accessibility support team are based in the U.S. and can help customers with technologies including screen readers on both desktop and mobile devices.
- "We're proud to have a strong focus on equality and inclusion," Jim Roth, the company's executive vice president, support, said in the statement. "Partnering with the Office of Accessibility in this way furthers our vision of providing a support experience that is personal and effortless. We are committed to continued disability inclusion and look forward to growing this team to help our customers."
ERGs, for many years highlighted as spaces for the growth of diversity and inclusion initiatives, have received even greater recognition by top employers in 2020. As D&I executives plan to respond to the number of challenges posed by global events this year, those who spoke to HR Dive referenced ERGs as a key part of their strategies.
At ADP, for example, officials told HR Dive that ERGs provided personal and professional support as workers adjusted their lives in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company provided the leaders of its ERGs, called business resource groups, with guidance on leading during challenging times, and members also participated in volunteer activities even during the pandemic.
Companies are also broadening the groups whom their ERGs represent; Taco Bell announced in September the launch of the company's first-ever U.S.-based "womxn's" employee resource group. The ERG, Womxn @ The Bell, is "meant to be inclusive to transgender, nonbinary and non-white womxn that provokes thought and represents the complexity of gender (gender identification and the roles we play as womxn)," the company said.
Disability-focused ERGs have done similar work throughout the pandemic, according to leaders at TIAA, PwC and Kaiser Permanente. Groups at these firms have advocated for accessible office spaces, transportation to and from work, and accessible software and technology, among other initiatives, sources told HR Dive.
Companies across the board have also announced increased investments in ERG programs. For example, Starbucks said earlier this month it would not only launch a new partnership with its ERGs, but also invest in recognition and development programs for ERGs. Compensation is on the table, too. Twitter recently announced it would pay members of business resource group leadership teams for their extra work.
As HR teams seek to further diversity and inclusion goals in the coming months, they may look to apply the lessons learned from D&I initiatives to areas outside of traditional people management. Products and services could be an example of one such area, as Salesforce's news illustrates.