Employee Affinity Groups

Employee Affinity Groups (EAGs) provide Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWTech) employees opportunities to gather and share ideas about matters that affect their professional development and work. EAGs foster employee development, contribute to LWTech’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, and challenge systems of power, privilege, and inequity. Additionally, EAGs strengthen professional networking and cohesiveness across the college and promote career and professional development.

EAGs are a valuable resource to LWTech. EAGs may provide feedback to managers and executive leaders and assist with efforts to attract and retain highly qualified LWTech employment candidates. Due to benefits to the workplace and contribution to the College's commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, approved EAGs are welcomed and given access to the resources listed in this policy.

Formation and Organization

Employee Affinity Groups are employee-formed and employee-led. Employee Affinity Groups must:

  • Be formed around a shared characteristic or common interest that can positively affect professional development or employee retention. Examples include (but are not limited to):
    1. national origin;
    2. race;
    3. gender;
    4. sexual orientation;
    5. gender identity;
    6. being a working parent;
    7. veteran status; or
    8. caring for aging family members while working.
  • Be open to all college non-student employees and non-student volunteers. As required by state, federal law, and college policy, EAGs may not discriminate based on race or ethnicity, creed, color, national origin, citizenship, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religion, disability, genetic information, or veteran status.
  • Adhere to all college policies: LWTech.edu/Policies.
  • While members may only be college non-student employees/volunteers, guest speakers may be invited to EAG meetings from outside the college.
  • As required by the Executive Ethics Act, EAGs may not use college resources to support or oppose any ballot proposition or candidate running for or elected to a public office. Additionally, EAGs may not be formed to promote or benefit any private company, organization, or individual business.

Application Submission/Approval Process

  1. If interested in forming an EAG, employees will complete an EAG application. The application is linked at the end of this page.
  2. Initial application requests will be sent to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Council (EDIC) leadership for preliminary review and approval.
  3. The application is then submitted to the Vice President of Human Resources for final approval.

Employees must articulate how the group’s formation relates to professional development or employee retention.


  • If approved, the group will be welcomed as an Employee Affinity Group and bound by College policies and use of College resources.
  • If the EAG application is denied, the employee who submitted the application will be notified by email and provided feedback on how that decision was reached. The employee has three options:
    • Accept the denial.
    • Revise the application based on provided feedback and resubmit.
    • Follow the college’s general grievance and appeal process.

Additional EAG Management Information


Informal mentoring may occur to enhance employee professional development, assisting with career success. Mentors might also provide informal training at EAG meetings or, more formally, will work with Human Resources or the Engagement and Learning committee to participate in or offer more formal institution-wide training.

Evaluation and Improvements

By meeting and talking about professional development and career goals, EAG members may find they would like to suggest organizational improvements. EAGs are encouraged to submit organizational improvements through the college’s Councils, or by contacting a member of the Executive Cabinet or other manager.


EAGs are welcomed by the College but are not supervised. Membership and roles within EAGs are voluntary and decided upon by the group. Their meetings and other efforts positively affect the work environment and contribute to college core values and mission fulfilment. They also help recruit and retain a high quality, highly skilled workforce by providing employees with the skills, knowledge, and tools to enhance work performance.

College Resources Available to Employee Affinity Groups

LWTech has determined that EAG meetings, informal mentoring, and training activities enhance employee professional development, contribute to one’s professional role in the College, and are related to several college organizational goals. Aligned with State Ethics rules, EAGs are authorized to make use of the following State resources for the listed purposes:

Physical Space

  • Shared college space, including conference and break rooms, may be used for group meetings on a space available basis. Shared space is limited so priority use will be for college business. Therefore, a scheduled EAG meeting may be bumped when a room is necessary for college business.
  • Other college space (office space or cubicles) may be used when mentoring an employee.

Employee Time

  • Meetings, informal mentoring, and training may occur during regular working hours. Employees may be granted up to 2 hours per month to participate in EAG events or meetings. Time allotted for participation may be adjusted per employee supervisor approval, on a case-by-case basis.
  • Employees may use work time to prepare meeting agendas and/or training materials.
  • Participation in EAG activities will not interfere with the performance of the employee’s regularly assigned duties. Overtime-eligible employees are reminded that any time spent engaged in college-sponsored activities constitutes work time and is subject to LWTech’s overtime requirements (for example, must have pre-approval from a supervisor).
  • Although supervisor approval is not required to join an EAG, employees should make their supervisor aware of their membership. If an employee’s performance is negatively affected by EAG participation a supervisor may limit use of work time for EAG activities. This limit will be in effect until the employee’s work requirements are met and not jeopardized by EAG involvement.

Computer, Electronic Mail, and Telephones

  • LWTech computers (desktop or laptop) may be used to prepare documents for meetings or training.
  • Employee-assigned email and phone may be used to hold meetings by teleconference, convey information about upcoming meetings, communicate with one another between meetings, communicate with speakers or potential speakers, and provide advice and mentoring to other EAG members.
  • LWTech’s video conferencing and phone systems may be used to hold meetings virtually.

The college anticipates that some EAG members will ask to participate, or be invited to participate, in the development of college-sponsored training programs, or college outreach and recruitment initiatives. When EAG members are involved in such college management-approved training or recruitment and outreach, they are performing college-assigned work. As such, they will be able to make use of the same resources provided any employee performing the assigned tasks.

EAG Application

Create an Affinity Group