Organizations that aim to build an inclusive and diverse culture can use employee resource groups or ERGs to achieve their goals. These groups offer a space for employees to unite together and have a positive impact on the business. Research has found that about 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies have ERGs.
ERGs are voluntary, employee-led groups. They are made up of individuals with similar backgrounds or characteristics such as parents, gender, etc. Groups provide support, empowerment, resources, and mentoring opportunities for members. ERG goals will also align with the organization’s business objectives, which makes them a valuable resource to companies. While company executives can act as sponsors, they are not the leaders of ERGs.
ERGs are often lead and run by volunteer employees. While executives are not permitted to be members, they can offer their support by sponsoring some groups. A sponsor will help the ERG access company funding for activities and events. They will also promote the group and their goals within the company.
When employees decide to come together and form an ERG it is usually for one of the following reasons:
Belonging to an ERG can have many advantages for employees, including:
While ERGs focus on enhancing the employee’s experience in the company, groups also have a number of benefits for the organization, including:
Ensuring that ERGs thrive at your organization involves more than simply starting up groups. To build a successful ERG, they need to have support, be visible and have an impact on company culture.
Companies should design ERG programs that identify the steps for creating groups, administrative processes and tasks, and documentation that can inform members of their responsibilities. Organizations should also strive to set aside funding for groups, even if it is just a modest amount. Support from executives in the form of sponsorship or mentorship should also be encouraged. Businesses that can hire someone to manage the administrative duties of the ERG will allow volunteer time to be better directed towards advancing the group’s goals.
For the most part, ERGs should be left in the hands of employees. Members will need to decide amongst themselves who will join and what impact their group wants to have within the company. However, company leadership should offer groups tools that will help them reach their goals and measure their success along the way. Some examples of this type of support include:
When done right, ERGs can be a powerful tool that benefits both employees and the company. Find out how to build and strengthen ERGs at your company with Together.