Building Relationships in Diverse Group Environments (BRIDGE)
Employee Resource Groups are a program within Dell overall Global Diversity & Inclusion strategy. Networking Groups represent a community of team members who have common interests relating to such things as ethnicity, gender, nationality, lifestyle or sexual orientation. Employee Resource Groups must have approved charters from Dell Global Diversity & Inclusion and the Executive Leadership Team.
Building Relationships in Diverse Group Environments (BRIDGE) is the chartered Employee Resource Group for African-American employees.
Mission and Objectives
BRIDGE’s mission is to create an inclusive community that connects the needs and interests of team members whose interest aligns with the African-American community. BRIDGE’s objectives are:
- Leverage the collective experiences of members to better understand motivations and concerns that may be unique to our members and our marketplace.
- Support efforts from Dell to recruit talented African-Americans.
- Help to retain top performers in all areas of our company.
- Provide a forum for informal mentoring and training sessions for members to enhance their professional development and effectiveness at Dell.
- Serve as a trusted source of insight and creativity for Dell as we continue to expand our Winning Culture and Marketplace Diversity initiatives.
- Partner with other internal network groups and actively support their initiatives and external activities impacting the community.
Each Employee Resource Group has one or more Executive Sponsors, who are responsible for providing executive leadership to the group and interfacing with the Dell Global Diversity Council. Executive Sponsors must be members of the Dell Executive Leadership Team. BRIDGE has two executive sponsors, Jeff Clarke, Vice Chairman Global Operations and Technology and Steve Price, Global Human Resources.
BRIDGE’s initiatives for this year include the following:
- Improve skills and professional development to allow members to achieve maximum productivity and teamwork within Dell
- Mentor members to aid in maximizing personal and professional growth, and to aid retention within Dell
- Provide education to promote awareness among members about the value of diversity and inclusion in our workforce
- Be a resource of information and creativity to the company
- Provide a pool of resources for Dell external outreach activities
- Provide venues where members of all diverse groups meet to share experiences
BRIDGE addresses these initiatives through the efforts of members that volunteer to serve as a Core Team Member (up to five Core Team Members per initiative), with lots of support from the general members of BRIDGE.
Support to Dell
BRIDGE members provide support to Dell through a number of programs and initiatives, including:
- Mentoring of members to develop skills and support one another
- Participating in the Dell New Hire Buddy Program to help newly hired employees learn about and navigate within Dell. Buddies also serve as a person with whom new hires can network or start to learn more about BRIDGE.
- BRIDGE also organizes and promotes a variety of internal events open to all Dell employees and occasionally to external guests as well. These events cover a range of topics, some recent events include:
- A forum in the Dell Nashville office in partnership with the Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce. The forum addressed the topic of improving business models and how Chamber members can better serve their clients using technology.
- A workshop hosted by Simon Bailey on 'Reawakening Your Genius,' motivating team members and managers with tips on how to become an A-level player. Simon Bailey is an internationally known speaker, author and authority in helping individuals and organizations improve their performance.
These efforts contributed to an improved workplace for African-American team members, which has been recognized with several awards including:
- Dell named in Minority Engineer Magazine’s list of Top 50 Employers.
- Dell being named in 2008 and 2007 as a Readers' Choice Best Diversity Company by the readers of Diversity/Careers in Engineering and Information Technology magazine.
- Dell ranking number two by DiversityBusiness.com in its 2008 and 2007 survey of Top 50 Companies for Multicultural Business Opportunities. For the second year in a row, Dell was the highest ranked technology company on the list.
- The United Negro College Fund in 2004 awarding Michael Dell the Frederick D. Patterson Award.
BRIDGE leads the planning and execution of the Dell annual observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday each January and Black History Month each February. These observances recognize the contributions of Dr. King and other African-Americans each year. Recent observances have included participation by Harry Belafonte, the well-known entertainer and Paul T. Kwami, musical director at Fisk University in Nashville, TN.
In addition to planning and supporting internal events, BRIDGE members are also active in events in the communities where Dell team members live and work. Examples of this include making donations of food or money for the Dell annual Can Hunger food drive and forming teams to participate in events such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk to Cure Diabetes.