Launching an employee resource group, or ERG, hadn’t been on my career roadmap. But after being in a somewhat marginalized demographic for more than a few years, I was motivated to find other employees like me. And based on the response from those I found, they were looking for the same thing.
The seed for the Intuit Silver Network was planted in February 2019, when I learned about the book “Wisdom at Work: The Making of a Modern Elder” by Chip Conley. As the founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, Conley had created dozens of boutique hotels throughout California before selling his business to Hyatt in 2010. In 2013, Airbnb asked him to take on a leadership role to coach the company’s young executives. It was through this work that he developed the concept of the modern elder: a midlife mindset that marries wisdom with curiosity and a willingness to evolve – and also values two-way intergenerational mentoring.
In his book, Conley states that while the workforce is aging, much of the emphasis in the tech industry is on hiring and catering to early-career employees. One of his recommendations is that companies create an ERG dedicated to the interests and needs of older employees. This struck a chord with me, and I decided to explore launching such a network at Intuit.
I started by gauging the interest level at my local office. We soon had a list of 40 members and a prioritized list of topics we wanted the network to address. Then the pandemic hit and the effort took a pause.
In February 2022, I felt ready to return to pursuing official ERG status for the network, so I reignited the conversation with our founding members. The first task was to name our ERG, which wasn’t easy. We discovered there aren’t many positive words to describe our demographic. We liked “silver” best because, in addition to the reference to our changing hair color, it’s also a precious metal with enduring value.
We then created our mission statement: “The Intuit Silver Network is a community focused on the interests and needs of older employees.” We’re using AARP’s definition of “older” to mean over 50, but anyone is welcome to join. Then we invited members from Intuit’s other ERGs, which resulted in our membership quadrupling in a few days. We created a steering committee of six members who are motivated to launch and build the network. And once we identified our executive sponsor, we had all the pieces in place.
Our initial priorities are to develop programming around the following topics:
- Intuit policies and benefits for an aging workforce – making sure we understand them and advocating for change
- Retirement/semi-retirement – early retirement, working fewer hours (part-time opportunities), volunteering more, taking on a side gig
- Finances – investments, getting out of debt
- Health – taking care of ourselves as we age
- Eldercare – managing the complexities of taking care of aging parents
- Intergenerational interactions – mentoring, learning about new technology
Building a supportive and inclusive work environment
In today’s ever-changing world, coming to work each day and feeling like you belong is critical to keeping employees truly engaged. Our ERGs are an important part of our company’s culture, providing a safe and supportive place for employees and their allies to have meaningful conversations, come together as a community, and advocate for change.
We just announced the Intuit Silver Network to the whole company this week, and our membership has continued to grow. We’ll be hosting our inaugural event next week and I’m thrilled to see so many employees come together to support the launch of our network. Together, we can help make Intuit an even better place for older employees!