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Last fall, Comcast’s newest Employee Resource Group, Unidos, held its first meeting. Attendees traded black bean and rice recipes and ripped up the dance floor to the sounds of salsa and merengue.
Although the description may sound more like a block party than a business development event, Public Relations Manager Josephine Posti explained that Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) represent a part of Comcast’s corporate DNA. ERGs bring together people who share similar values, cultures, or beliefs for the purpose of aligning them with an organization’s mission and vision. Nationwide, Comcast has 8 different ERGs, with 4 operating in the Keystone region. “Diversity is one of Comcast’s key business philosophies,” Posti said. “It is central to developing programming for customers, and how we attract and retain talent.”
A key factor driving the success of ERGs is that they volunteer-based. “It all starts with the passion of the employees,” Posti said. Unidos was born from the passion of Customer Care Manager Maria Medina. “As a Latina working for Comcast Cable in the Keystone Region, I felt compelled to start an Unidos Chapter because I saw the opportunity to work within the communities we serve,” she said. Medina is the employee champion who heads the group and works with the executive champion, Chief Financial Officer Bruce Wilson, who offers leadership support.
According to Posti, Unidos is still in the early stages of formation, yet they have already accomplished a lot. This past Christmas, Unidos spearheaded a volunteer project in collaboration with the Pittsburgh-based non-profit, Casa San Jose. Posti, along with 20 other employees, collected gifts and delivered them to Latino families in need. “It was an extremely rewarding day for all who participated,” she said.
Most recently, Medina hosted a group of high school students at the Harrisburg call center as part of Comcast’s Listos mentoring program. Students were able to interact with ERG members from all levels of Comcast for an authentic, community-based learning experience. “Comcast is very committed to volunteering in the communities they serve— and the ERG is the perfect mechanism to drive these opportunities,” Posti said.
Beyond personal development and community service, ERGs like Unidos are also fantastic opportunities to engage younger employees in mentoring and professional development—another key initiative of Comcast. “To see the newest front line employees get together with a member of our senior leadership team is wonderful. That doesn’t happen naturally,” Posti said. For Medina, the ERG is also a way to identify and cultivate professional talent. “[The organization can] focus on professional development towards leadership competencies and to promote Comcast as an employer of choice,” she said.
Young Comcast professionals also find great value in participating. Hendrick Desangles explained: “I am honored and proud to finally be a part of a group of individuals that have taken time out of their busy schedules to help with my professional development.” He added that he appreciates the wisdom the executive mentors provide and respects their commitment to helping young professionals like him succeed.
It’s logical that the success of Comcast’s talent pool has impacted both customer service and product development. Posti noted that initiatives like the X1 Platform, which offers a bi-lingual voice remote option as well as the bi-cultural kid’s zone, which allows parents to select children’s shows in their native language, are just a few of the products and services that were developed, in part, from the efforts of the ERGs. Projects on the horizon include hosting demo events for the X1 remote and the Bicultural Kid’s Zone in collaboration with Comcast’s community partners. Unidos has also identified Comcast’s Internet Essentials—a program that delivers low cost, high-speed internet to qualifying customers—as a potential area of focus to ensure all segments of the population are aware of the program.
Clearly, Unidos offers a clear example of how Comcast’s approach to diversity is reaping tremendous benefits for employees, customers, and the community at large. Posti believes that moving forward, this kind of approach will help more young professionals better understand the mission and the vision of Comcast. “The Employee Resource Groups provide—on a more intimate scale—what caring about diversity really means,” she said.
Posti also believes ERGs like Unidos will continue to drive innovation. “The Employee Resource Groups help us all work smarter,” she said. “We can serve our customers more effectively by better understanding their habits and their interests, delivering the best customer experience that we can.