People Powered: Alfa's Communities - National ERG Day
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) can be found at organisations of all shapes and sizes these days and they’re the big influencers: shaping an inclusive culture and fostering a sense of belonging. The first ERG dates back to the US in the 1960s when a group of black employees at Xerox joined forces to champion inclusive policies and fight against workplace discrimination.
At Alfa, we've got an eclectic mix of talented colleagues, all coming from different places and with many unique stories. Diverse cultural perspectives really do inspire innovation and creativity at Alfa.
We call our ERGs ‘Communities’ at Alfa and we’ve got eight of these vibrant affinity groups leading the way in raising awareness, educating colleagues, supporting each other and making a positive impact on life at Alfa. Alfa Communities are people-powered - full of passion and energy!
To mark National ERG Day, which falls on 17 November each year, we’re shining a spotlight on Alfa’s Communities and want to share a few things they’ve been up to in 2022.
Alfa for Racial Equity Community
Known to friends as ‘AFREC’, this community group was created to foster an environment conducive to racial diversity at Alfa through recruitment, retention and development of racial minority colleagues, working with allies to instigate positive change, internally and externally.
During Black History Month, social talks took place on subjects including ‘The hidden cost of Black hair - a 1 trillion USD industry’. The community also ran a raffle which raised £2,840 for the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation. Hispanic Heritage Month was also used as an opportunity to share interesting blogs. ‘Come Dine With Me…’ office lunches have been organised during the year, featuring world cuisines such as Caribbean, Greek and Filipino dishes, and are always popular!
AFREC were also behind the launch of Alfa’s first Work Experience programme this summer at Alfa HQ. In partnership with upReach, a charity that works to create the conditions for undergraduates from less-advantaged backgrounds to access and sustain top graduate jobs, we were matched with nine first- and second-year university students. They joined us for a week of immersive learning in our London office, gaining insight into the world of fintech and learning lots of new skills. The feedback was excellent and we are delighted that we’ll continue this programme next year, and roll out to other regions.
Aiming to represent the collective voice of LGBTQ+ colleagues, encourage a safe and inclusive working environment, and collaborate with our allies to inspire positive change amongst our wider communities, Alfa’s LGBTQ+ community lays on great events for colleagues. This active group drove the creation and implementation of Alfa’s ‘transitioning at work’ policy.
Members of the group have featured in Alfa’s new internal podcast this year, in special episodes including one sharing information on the history of Pride month.
During Pride month, our offices were adorned with rainbows and events were held including hosting The Leasing Foundation’s first in a series of LGBTQ+ Company Showcase events. This event was followed by our annual ‘Pimms my Pride’ social drinks, pizza and games!
The Alfa Women’s Community membership is not just made up of women! This group is striving to build an environment with equal representation of women by providing a support network of allies to encourage gender diversity in Alfa and across the industry.
On International Women's Day this year, we launched our first ‘employee stories’ - insight into individuals across the business - focusing first on some of our female talent.
During Breast Cancer Awareness month, our Women’s Community turned our intranet pink and raised awareness of the importance of early detection of breast cancer with pink cupcake events in all our offices. We were proud to make donations to breast cancer charities too.
Alfa’s Women’s Community provides support with our presence at events such as Bright Network’s Women in TEC and STEM Women Technology Careers events and they are currently launching an exciting new mentor programme.
Originally formed in the depths of the pandemic lockdowns, the Alfa Parents’ Community is a safe space for parents and carers to support and advise each other, share tips and even some of the frustrations and challenges that come with parenthood.
This group has contributed to enhanced family-friendly policies at Alfa and shares materials that cover subjects such as achieving a healthy work-life balance, fun learning resources, events and personal experiences that might help out a fellow parent. One of our podcast episodes this year involved collaboration with our LGBTQ+ Community, with members from both groups sharing stories of coming out and how to support young people that might have questions around gender and sexuality.
Alfa’s Inclusion Community champions inclusion, diversity and belonging across the whole company. We have ambitious goals to work on diversity and inclusion as an organisation and this community supports all our initiatives and challenges our thinking.
Members of this group played an important role in the development of our first Inclusion & Diversity Charter - in which we lay out all the ways in which we can make sure we respect, celebrate and draw on each other's different perspectives, skills, knowledge and backgrounds. We’re launching the first of a new annual Diversity, Equity & Inclusion global survey shortly, and the feedback we receive will be invaluable in informing our next steps when it comes to bolstering our sense of community and belonging at Alfa.
Environmental Impact & Social Impact Teams
The main goal of Alfa’s Environmental Impact group is to promote environmentally friendly practices in the workplace, with a longer-term goal of ensuring Alfa complies with the Paris Agreement to “keep the global temperature rise this century to well below 2 degrees Celsius”. This team drives real change with our carbon emissions measurement and policy enhancements to encourage greener living.
This group, along with our Social Impact team, was the driving force behind this year’s review and selection of five new UN Sustainable Development Goals, for us to align our ESG activities with. They’re the creators of ‘The Greenhouse’ - an intranet group sharing green ideas and resources for colleagues to get involved with.
Most recently they have launched a refill station for household cleaning and hygiene products, which colleagues can use in our London office. We’re hoping to roll this out to our offices worldwide soon.
The energetic members of these teams also organise and encourage involvement in volunteering opportunities such as canal clean-ups and ‘plogging’ - litter-picking whilst jogging in local green spaces!
Mental Health Allies
Our Mental Health Allies share regular updates and resources with colleagues, supporting everyone with all aspects of mental wellbeing.
We have a network of trained Mental Health First Aiders that cover all our regions and are a point of contact for colleagues who are experiencing a difficult time or emotional distress. Mental Health First Aiders are trained to listen in confidence and are able to confidently signpost to appropriate support, both internal and external. No matter their time zone or location, Alfa has a Mental Health First Aider to help our colleagues.
Social Talks with external professionals have been arranged to mark occasions such as World Mental Health Day. The useful advice and resources shared by our Mental Health Allies sensitively cover topical themes that support us all.
Thank you to all those involved in Alfa’s Communities and to our events teams that support a packed calendar full of enriching activities and experiences for us all. Everything you do helps us in becoming the best workplace we can be!