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Associate Resource Groups Provide Support, Connection and Growth

Strengthening our culture in a hybrid workplace

The pandemic has transformed the way we work. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people working from home has increased dramatically. And, despite the fluctuating threat of the pandemic today, remote work only seems to be growing more popular.

But it’s come at a cost.

Many workers are feeling isolated and disconnected. According to a recent study, one in three employees (36 percent) said a top frustration of remote work was feeling disconnected from colleagues. Boomers feel the most disconnected (51 percent, a 4-point increase from last year), which is more than double the 23 percent of Gen Z that reported feeling the same way.2

Creating a culture of inclusivity and belonging in a hybrid and remote environment is more critical than ever.

Enter Associate Resource Groups (ARGs).

Most often referred to as Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) — they are called Associate Resource Groups at Securian Financial (Securian). These are voluntary, employee-led groups whose aim is to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with the organizations they serve. They’re usually led and participated in by employees who share a characteristic, whether it's gender, ethnicity, lifestyle or interest. The groups are open and allies are encouraged to join.

Anna Dols, Securian Financial Account Executive for Affinity Solutions, has embraced ARGs at Securian. “I try to attend a couple of events of each ARG every year, but I am most connected to Securian Young Professionals Network (SYPN). I have been on the leadership team for SYPN going on three years now and will co-lead in 2023.”

The power of ARGs.

Associate resource groups are powerful resources for facilitating discussions and providing networks for professionals based on shared identities, experiences and allyship. These groups have roots in the desire to advocate for employees and give them a space at work to be their best authentic selves.3

Carlos Gee, Sr. Financial Planning and Analysis Analyst with Securian, said, “Joining an ARG is a fast way to gain support and network with others who are like-minded and in similar situations. It’s helped me to stay connected and build relationships with others that I wouldn’t be able to interact with.” Carlos is active with the Securian Multicultural Network (SMN).

The first group was created in the 1960s at Xerox as a response to racial tensions. Joseph Wilson, the former CEO of Xerox, along with Xerox’s Black employees, launched the National Black Employees Caucus. They wanted to create a space for Black employees to discuss their experiences and advocate for change within their company.3

ARGs are often part of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. In the past decades, ERGs have grown to include cultural and other identity groups and groups based on experiences or interests, such as parenting, volunteerism, wellness and environmental activism.3

Five benefits of ARGs.

Many Securian associates find multiple benefits in getting involved with ARGs. Jessica Li, Securian Product Sr. Analyst, found a home with the Securian Multicultural Network. She said the most notable benefits for her were, “working alongside incredible coworkers to drive impact in our community and across our enterprise allows me to find more meaning in my work. I also find that ARG committee roles enable development of different professional skills that I wouldn't have exposure to in my daily role with my team.”

  1. Creating an inclusive workplace. ARGS can help all employees feel a sense of equity and belonging in the workplace.
  2. Promote cultural awareness. An inclusive culture is fostered by cultural awareness. ARGs encourage decision-makers and employees to learn more about other cultures, helping companies understand cultural norms that may affect inclusion.
  3. Support. Employees who are members of ARGs have more resources than non-members. These resources help employees feel supported, which enhances their work life.
  4. Connection. Groups bring together associates at different levels and across departments to build community. And in our hybrid work environment, building connections is more vital than ever.
  5. Career growth. Dols said it best: “Being on the leadership team of SYPN, I’ve developed my event planning and public speaking/presentation skills through organizing events as well as learning more about mentorship, personal brand and creating goals. This has helped me grow my network and career in a short amount of time.”

The importance of ARGS.

We know that innovation can only flourish when employees feel safe bringing their whole selves to work.4 ARGs can help build high-trust relationships that help companies thrive. The groups foster a sense of belonging, inspire conversation, bring new ways to look at issues, and drive innovation.

“A diverse workplace enables meaningful collaboration, insightful decisions and personal growth for employees. Securian Financial will continue building a culture where all employees feel welcomed and empowered to make a difference for our customers, communities and each other.”

Chris Hilger

Securian Financial Chairman, President and CEO

Building a diverse, inclusive culture at Securian Financial

Our ARGs support underrepresented employees at Securian Financial and help create a more aware, respectful and inclusive workplace. ARGs promote collaboration among employees with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and experiences and are open to all associates.

ARGs are integral to Securian’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. While some groups have a dedicated talent management recruiter, every group has executive sponsors and direct support from the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Office and the Securian Financial Diversity Council.

Securian Financial has six ARGs to help employees feel connected and supported.

Mental Wellness and Disability

Dedicated to normalizing conversations around mental wellness and disability in the workplace, the group provides education and awareness. This supports a more inclusive culture and creates an environment that can accommodate the broader needs of our employees, customers and channel partners.

Pride

Develops a community for LGBTQ+ employees and allies, offers education for all employees and supports the Twin Cities LGBTQ+ community. Proud Parents is a sub-group of Pride that builds connections, provides support and answers questions for those with LGBTQ+ people in their families.

Securian Multicultural Network

Multicultural employees and allies explore educational opportunities and build relationships and peer support to enhance their careers and personal lives.

Securian Women and Allies Network

Committed to increasing gender equality and diversity by fostering an environment that supports, educates and empowers all women at Securian Financial and in the broader community to achieve their highest aspirations.

Securian Young Professionals Network

Provides opportunities for early- to mid-career professionals to develop socially, professionally and civically.

Servicemember Resource Group

Veterans, current service members and military supporters build relationships and enhance veteran recruitment, morale and retention within the military community at Securian Financial.

Each Securian ARG highlights our commitment to diversity by engaging associates in professional development, awareness activities and community outreach. As Jessica said, “Reach out and get involved! Many ARGs have some version of a member connection event that are a great way to see faces (always a plus in the remote world) and meet new people.” Consider joining one today.

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Did you know?

66% of U.S. employees work remotely, at least part-time.1

Up to 92% of employees work at least one day per week remotely. 1

Experts predict that there will be 36.2 million Americans working remotely by 2025 (a 417% increase from pre-pandemic levels). 1

Ana Dols, Carlos Gee, and Jessica Li are Securian Financial employees and therefore have a financial connection to Securian Financial. Their statements were given freely.

1. Flynn, Jack. “25 Trending Remote Work Statistics [2022]: Facts, Trends, and Projections.” Zippia.com, Oct. 16, 2022.

2. Grensing-Pophal, Lin. “Managing Feelings of Disconnectedness Among Remote Workers.” HR Daily Advisor, Apr. 19, 2022.

3. “Exploring the History and Evolution of Employee Resource Groups.” DiversityInc, Aug. 4, 2020.

4. Hastwell, Claire. “What Are Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)?” Great place to work, Jan. 7, 2020.

DOFU 1-2023

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