Five to Nine x Affirm: ERG Development Program

Five to Nine led an off-site for Affirm, a fast-growing fintech company headquartered in San Francisco, CA. The off-site was for Affirm’s 30 council leaders which lead the company’s 13 Employee Resources Groups and Clubs. In addition to the council’s 30 leaders, Affirm’s Chief People Officer and two VPs of HR were in attendance.

Affirm’s goal for council leaders was to help them more effectively lead their groups by leveraging data and learning best leadership practices. Before the off-site, Five to Nine launched a pre-survey for all 30 participants and found leaders’ top goals and challenges in these roles. 

For ERG/Club leaders, we found that the top goals broke down into three main categories: 

  1. Building community 
  2. Strengthening impact
  3. Improving collaboration

Goals from Survey

Build Community

“Get more than 50% of events hosted by members (instead of leads)”

“Host at least one event each month”

·Building community within the ERG”

“Expand membership”

Strengthen Impact

“Provide strong bonding within CLAC members to help company retention and eNPS”

“Link Affirm with local ceteran service organization to support the local population of veterans in need”

“Continue to expand initiatives / projects”

Collaborate

“More joined events hosted by members (instead of leads)”

“Promote and get allies to join our ERG”

“Connect with the broader company”

For ERG/Club leaders, we found that the top challenges broke down into five main categories: 

“Getting more people actively involved”

“Member participation”

“Very minimum budget”

“D&I is not included in success metrics across the company”

“Organization and transparency with other ERG’S and the DEI council”

“Getting people to own initiatives, instead of me having to lead them all”

“Finding ways to get allies involved with our ERG”

During the off-site, we led discussion on the following topics: 

  • What are Affirm’s EOY Goals? (ERGs and Council)  
  • What does Affirm want ERG leadership to look like this time next year? 
  • What is the council’s impact, benefit, and business case to the Affirm community? 
  • ERGs, URGs, Community Interest Groups  – key definitions and needs 
  • How do ERG/Club leaders balance workload and request needed support from management?

After the off-site, we provided our curated resource list to off-site participants and launched a post-event survey to gather feedback and key learnings. 

Overall, the off-site received a NPS score of 83 along with the following feedback: 

“I enjoyed learning what other ERGs’ goals and struggles were. It helped me realize that we are all trying to do the same thing for different groups of people. I want us as a group to use that experience to share information more broadly and openly going forward. I still feel like there’s invisible boundaries between ERGs/leads, but we’re working to improve that.”

“Spending time with the other ERG leads and building community and camaraderie by sharing our common experiences. I like that we broke out into small groups and got to brainstorm together and get to know each other. I liked beginning with the meditation and setting intentions and sharing why we were involved in this work.”

“Hearing everyone’s “why” that was moving and getting info from Jasmine on external ERGs and how we fit into the model.