Employee Resource Groups, also known as ERGs, are not only a great way for a company’s employees to meet and network, but they also encourage inclusivity by connecting professionals from similar backgrounds and helping them feel a deeper sense of belonging. ERGs also provide opportunities for employees who identify with multiple identities. For employers, it creates a positive work environment, helps recruiting and retention and fosters a talent pipeline of leaders with an inclusive mindset. It’s no wonder that around 90% of Fortune 500 companies have ERGs.
What started as an employee forum for individuals with similar cultural backgrounds, has since grown into a wide range of groups, from young professionals starting their new careers to employees with disabilities. It wasn’t long before groups began to form around the armed services community.
RTX, the world’s largest aerospace and defense company has nine ERGs, including RTX VETS, which is dedicated to serving the armed services community. RTX VETS provides support to the company’s more than 15,000 veteran employees and their family members by offering resources and creating safe spaces to connect and share experiences. The ERGs also allow RTX leaders to have a deeper understanding of the varying perspectives and needs of the workforce.
In addition, RTX VETS developed an internal tool to help veterans match specific skills, experiences, and unique backgrounds to business opportunities across the organization.
To provide a sense of community, RTX VETS offers a network of like-minded people who understand the unique challenges those with a military background face. The company also partners with organizations such as The Mission Continues and Student Veterans of America to link employees with opportunities for impact and volunteerism.
Paul Marchetti is an Air Force veteran turned senior manager in cyber defense at RTX. After joining the company in 2012, it was the first time he had worked outside of the Department of Defense. During the transition, he had some challenges with belonging, learning professional jargon, navigating the reporting structure as well and understanding his identity and purpose.
“I connected with a fellow Air Force veteran who took me under his wing and began mentoring me,” Marchetti says. “That’s when everything began to fall into place. I was introduced to RTX VETS, which allowed me to make friends and build my network outside of my day job. These relationships have helped me both personally and professionally. Without fellow veterans to interact with daily, my career at RTX would not be what it is today.”
Similarly, Lindsay Krueger is a Global Strategy Lead at Collins Aerospace, an RTX business, and a U.S. Army spouse. She is fortunate enough to have career continuity between two companies over the last ten years, despite over four permanent changes of station. She was able to earn promotions within both companies, who supported her through deployment and on temporary duty assignments. Two elements that Krueger believes enabled her success were having a personal vision for her career as well as having good leadership and an organization that supports the armed services and their spouses.
“I’m proud of my ability to progress my career in parallel to my husband’s,” Krueger says. “The education, mentoring and resources I leveraged individually are now a part of standard resources that employees at my company can receive via engagement with the ERG. Others who are passionate about the armed services community can join together, give back and make even more progress toward enabling others to achieve their goals. Together, we can influence change for the better in our organizations and give back in the process.”
RTX VETS gives back by providing opportunities for volunteering, mentorships, networking, resume writing resources and interview prep for spouses like Krueger. The ERG also helps shape company resources such as a “How To” guide that assists existing employees in finding a path forward with the company during a permanent change of station. The guide was created by military spouses and talent acquisition leaders, all of whom experienced the struggles of constant change.
RTX has created a culture for military veterans and their spouses to not only how to excel in the civilian workforce, but how to make a difference in the communities where we live and work. RTXVETS and other ERG communities support employees feeling seen, heard and confident that their voice matters.