DEARBORN - The first Ford Employee Resource Groups (ERG) began over 20 years ago to offer informal networking support to employees. Since then, Ford’s ERGs have grown to 11 corporately approved groups, with a combined total membership of approximately 16,000 Ford employees. Those groups include:
• Ford African Ancestry Network (FAAN)
• Ford Asian Indian Association (FAIA)
• Ford Chinese Association (FCA)
• Ford Employees Dealing with Disability (FEDA)
• Ford Hispanic Network (FHN)
• Ford Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Employees (GLOBE)
• Ford Interfaith Network (FIN)
• Ford Parenting Network
• Ford Veterans Network Group
• Professional Women's Network (PWN)
• Ford Employees Recreation Association (FERA)
Over the years, Ford’s ERGs have evolved from being event-driven, internally-focused groups to serving as critical strategic partners for various business units within the company. Each ERG works to support the diversity and business objectives of the company including Ford’s goal to achieve "Brand of Choice" and "Employer of Choice."
Recently, the Ford Asian Indian Association (FAIA) organized a Hoist Benchmarking event at the Dearborn Benchmarking Center. Ford employees served as "Ford Brand Ambassadors" and had the opportunity to examine parts and components that go into Ford vehicles and compare the quality with that of the competition.
To get members excited about the cutting-edge technology used to design Ford vehicles, FAIA set up a one-stop Design Studio tour of global products at the Product Development Center. Each FAIA member in attendance was made an active Ford Brand Ambassador. This was followed up with a group registration for the upcoming 2013 Employee Auto Show.
The Ford Chinese Association (FCA) played a vital role in the rollout of SYNC Gen II for the China market. The Ford Kuga is brand new to the market and the first Ford vehicle to equip SYNC Gen II Chinese version with voice recognition. To expedite the validation process and improve robustness of the Chinese version, the SYNC Development Team asked FCA for assistance. About twenty FCA volunteers helped to assess the functional performance of the Chinese version versus the English version, and test various Mandarin accents from different regions of China for the SYNC Gen II Chinese Language Pack.
FCA has played an integral part in the company's expansion in China, helping to prepare American executives for transfers to China, and play host to Chinese car dealers when they visit Ford's headquarters.
Ford’s ERGs also contribute to the success of the business by acting as brand ambassadors within the community and polishing the company's reputation through community service.
“Not only do they feature our vehicles in many of their events, the ERGs continue to spread the word about Ford as an inclusive place to work, enhancing our ability to attract the diverse workforce we need to go further,” said Debbie Weaks, Ford’s Chief Diversity Officer. “The ERGs support Ford’s positive image through their involvement in our communities,” said Weaks.
Ford’s ERGs have helped sell Ford vehicles through the company’s Friends and Neighbors program. Since 2003, 12,295 Ford vehicles have been sold generating over $600,000 in sales. The X-Plan program extends a modified employee discount to friends and family members of Ford employees.
Ford’s ERGs are a vital asset and have become increasingly relevant to employee engagement and the company. Ford salaried and hourly employees are welcome to join any Ford ERG.