PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada is continuing to foster an inclusive work environment and sense of belonging with the addition of three new employee resource groups.

The new ERGs, which the company refers to as inclusion networks, are the Muslim Inclusion Network, Middle Eastern and North African Inclusion Network and the Jewish Inclusion Network.

“These groups were created because employees come to us and express their desire for certain networks, whether they’re identity based or based on specific interests they’ve shared,” says Shazeda Ly, manager of national inclusion, diversity and belonging at PwC. “They’ll come to us with a potential executive group formed . . . and then our team helps to support them and make it become a reality.”

Read: Back to basics on employee resource groups

PwC has seen increased employee engagement with these networks, she notes, including workers signing up to attend events, receive updates about ongoing initiatives and learn about how they can get involved, whether they’re a part of the community or want to be an ally.

The firm also hosts inclusion and diversity fairs that feature the inclusion networks at its various locations across Canada. “The most recent [fair] was in April and our three new inclusion networks were there,” says Melissa Blimkie, senior manager of national inclusion, diversity and belonging at PwC. “They were really well received. Lots of people came into the office that day to learn about the inclusion efforts and it really helped to create a sense of belonging.”

The inclusion networks also help to attract employees because they show potential hires how inclusive and supportive PwC strives to be, says Blimkie, adding she works closely with the talent acquisition team so they can discuss the inclusion networks when it does recruitment activities. A recent internal survey found the No. 1 driver of employee retention was belonging, scoring two-times higher than any other driver.

“When I was going through the recruitment process from university, I remember the inclusion networks and just how much DEI showed up at PwC,” says Ly. “It was really important for me when deciding, especially as a woman of colour. I was interested in learning how I’d be able to bring certain aspects of my identity to work, so that was a significant part of my decision in coming to work for PwC.”

Read: Employers prioritizing workplace culture, DEI in communications strategies: survey