Many employee network groups form, fail to attract significant membership or support, and disband.
The Asian American Professional Association (AAPA) at Henkel of America is not one of those: It was formed in early 2005, and its presence in the corporation continues to strengthen.
“Our workforce must reflect the communities we live in and the markets we serve and wish to serve,” says Kim Kemper, vice president of HR, shared resources, and global diversity head at Henkel. “Our employees’ collective but unique backgrounds whether by gender, education, ethnicity, geographic location — among many others — are valued and contribute to our business results.”
Indeed, a main reason the AAPA has thrived at Henkel, Kemper says, is that it has focused on helping both its individual members and the company. For instance, although the 40-member group organizes mentors, social gatherings, and monthly meetings to help improve new and existing Asian employees’ experience, it also has helped with many strategic corporate activities, including:
- active support during on-campus recruiting, job fairs, and with alumni connections;
- promoting an understanding of Asian cultures and markets related to existing and potential business;
- regular meetings with senior leadership to bring different perspectives and ideas to the organization; and
- leadership in key community initiatives and charitable events.