Having employee resource groups (ERGs) in your workplace can benefit both the well-being of your individual employees and your business as a whole. Some of the key benefits include:
- Increasing employee engagement
- Building an inclusive environment
- Professional development opportunities
- Improving retention and reducing turnover
- Increased morale
- Encouraging innovation
There are many types of employee resource groups. Common examples of an ERG group include the following:
- Women’s network
- ERG groups for people of color
- An LGBTQIA+ network
- Veterans’ employee resource groups
- Groups for people with disabilities
- A mental health advocacy group
- Latinxs employee resource groups
- A young professionals network
If you are considering starting an ERG corporate group, there are several elements you need to consider:
The first step is deciding which type of group you want to create:
- Diversity groups that foster a sense of belonging amongst minority groups in your organization.
- Affinity groups where employees with similar lifestyles or interests can get together and socialize.
- Professional development/mentorship programs where employees can share their knowledge and skills to help their peers develop their careers.
Next, align your ERG guidelines with the company’s overall objectives. To be successful, senior management needs to buy into this initiative. The final step is to communicate the initiative and encourage participation. Be sure that the goals are clear.
You have gauged interest, now it’s time to act on the initiative. Give your employee resource groups the autonomy to define what their group is. Never dictate. This includes the scope of the group, who is eligible, and what success means.
Provide groups with the right tools so that they can track and measure their success. This might include templates, budget tracking tools, support in setting up metrics, funding, or a platform for communication.
Encourage your employees to establish clear ERG goals and ERG guidelines.
An ERG group should ultimately give underrepresented voices an opportunity to communicate with each other and with leadership. Encourage your employees to promote accountability and transparency. They can do this through feedback and open communication.
Create effective ERGs that don’t burnout or lack social connection by providing each group with these best practices:
A Safe Space – A safe confidential space has to be part of the guidelines in order for all to feel comfortable sharing. What is said in the resource group, stays in the resource group.
Good Communication Tools – We work from anywhere so make sure your ERGs can meet and communicate in a two-way fashion.
Goals – Goals foster accountability within the group.
A peer-led resource such as an ERG offers an opportunity for all employees, new and old, to find a supportive community within their workplace.
ASE Members have access to over 100 McLean & Company tools and resources on how to form ERGs. McLean & Company is accessible to the designated member user via the ASE Member Dashboard. Contact Linda Olejniczak at [email protected] with any questions or for assistance.
Read Part 1 of this series here.