Banfield Pet Hospital is committed to fostering a culture where Associates have a sense of belonging and are empowered to impact change through their collective ideas and voices. Banfield started its equity, inclusion and diversity journey by engaging and uniting its more than 19,000 Associates through Diversity Resource Groups (DRGs).
DRGs are Associate-led communities that drive connectivity and change across the organization. DRGs give Associates an avenue to engage in open dialogue and further drive diversity, equity and inclusion within the workplace. While providing a place for Associates to work on forward-thinking initiatives and projects, DRGs also provide networking and foster creative thinking integral to innovation and business growth and development beyond their daily roles and responsibilities.
Banfield is the leading provider of preventive veterinary care with more than 1,000 hospital locations across the United States and Puerto Rico. Banfield developed a series of DRGs with the goal of making a positive impact on their Associates, clients and communities.
“Banfield is a community of people characterized by diversity of thought, background, preferences and approach, and bonded together by our commitment to our purpose: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS. Our pledge, achieved through the health and well-being of our associates, is to create an inclusive environment where all associates can be themselves, so that we can find value in our differences.”
Banfield launched their DRGs with the goal of building pathways and an engaging environment to attract, retain, develop and elevate diverse talent at Banfield and within the broader industry – while delivering culturally-competent care to clients. The practice now has six DRGs, with plans for further expansion, including: #WomenofBanfield; #BanfieldNextGen; #BanfieldPride (LGBTQ+); #UnidosenBanfield (Hispanic and Latinx); #BanfieldAPI (Asian Americans who trace their roots to more than 20 countries); and #POWERatBanfield (focused on creating an engaging environment to attract, retain, develop, and elevate Black talent).
For Banfield, DRGs make Associates feel supported and that their diverse perspectives are welcome and valued. The Associates who have stepped up to lead and participate in these groups have accomplished much. Highlights include sponsoring Pride parades, rolling out a Spanish-language version of Banfield.com, and introducing interpretation services for clients. In partnership with Banfield’s Pride DRG, restroom signage was updated in the practice’s more than 200 standalone locations to be gender neutral—the direct result of an Associate who felt supported enough to reach out to leadership to make a change that impacts Associates and clients. All Banfield Associate name badges also now have the option to display their preferred personal pronouns.
Originally known as Employee Resource Groups, DRGs have their roots in the Civil Rights Movement, starting in the 1960’s as a response to racial inequalities. In 1964, the CEO of Xerox, along with the company’s Black employees launched the first official Employee Resource Group: The National Black Employees Caucus. Over time, ERGs and DRGs have evolved and become more nuanced to support an array of cultures and communities.
For companies looking to launch DRGs, Banfield suggests that leadership start by listening to their people and creating a two-way dialogue to understand what interests resonate with them. Associates should have buy-in and support from their leadership with empowerment to determine DRG structure and activation. Proper commitment and financial support from senior leadership with participation at all levels of the organization can help with long-term success for DRGs.
To read more about what are other companies are doing to create quality workplaces, visit WSW’s Quality Jobs page.