Starting Religious Employee-Resource Groups

Six years ago, Aetna Chief Diversity Officer Raymond Arroyo started pitching the idea of faith-based employee-resource groups to his company leadership. But the organization, like many others, was nervous, especially those in HR and the legal department.

“It was perceived as riskynot something corporate America has embraced fully,” Arroyo recalls. “There was concern that there would be disruption in the workplace and the feeling that if we supported some groups, others would object.”

In December 2009, Arroyo learned that Aetna was about to launch its first faith-based employee-resource groups and expected at least one to start in 2010. There was interest from Christians about starting a group, as well as a couple of Jewish employees. Aetna is No. 19 on The 2011 Fair360, formerly DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list.

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