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Friday, 19 May 2023

Research Insights on Staff Networks and Employee Voice

This Work and Equalities Institute Workshop will explore whether staff networks could provide a relevant voice for women and ethnic minority employees in their workplace.

Event Time
19 May 12:00 - 19 May 16:00
Event Location
Alliance Manchester Business School
Event Type

Staff networks are groups of employees who share a common interest and come together for mutual support, to discuss and advocate for issues important for them. They are seen as a powerful tool to encourage diversity and inclusion, to support business success and to provide a mechanism of employee voice for under-represented groups.


This workshop will present findings from a research project investigating whether staff networks could provide a relevant voice for women and ethnic minority employees in their workplace. We conducted qualitative interviews with staff network chairs and equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) officers in both public and private sector organisations.

We found that staff networks can provide a unique channel for employees to voice their concerns. Organisations often consult with their staff networks on EDI matters and chairs often participate in employee forums and organisational committees where senior leaders are also members. This enables staff networks to raise concerns and contribute to decision-making within the organisation. Our data reveals several instances of changes introduced (or prevented) following the intervention of the staff network.

However, the operation of staff networks is not without challenges. The level of resources and support from management and HR can have a significant impact on the scope and degree of voice that ERGs achieve. Despite these challenges, staff networks can be an important voice mechanism for underrepresented employees, complementing other mechanisms for voice and workplace representation. In this workshop, we will also share insights from our research on how staff networks voice can be strengthened.

The event will start with a networking lunch. Please note that that participants can apply for travel reimbursement.

Who we are

work and equalities institute logo

We are a team of researchers based at Alliance Manchester Business School and members of the Work and Equalities Institute.

Isabel Tavora is Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management with a research interest in all areas of equality including intersectionality and the interface between gender, the family and employment. Isabel chaired the School’s Equality, Diversity (EDI) and Inclusion Committee from August 2018 until July 2021 on different areas of equality.

Saleema Kauser is a Senior Lecturer in Organisational Strategy with research interests on gender inequalities, particularly the challenges facing women from ethnic minorities. She is a board member for the Pankhurst Trust and Manchester Women’s Aid, where she works to achieve justice for women and girls.

Imran Saqib is a lecturer in Human Resource Management (HRM) and Employment Studies with research interests on HRM in developing countries, their equality implications and new channels for employee voice. Imran is a member of the school’s EDI Committee.