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employee resource groups

What Are ERGs (Employee Resource Groups)?

  • Omer Usanmaz
  • April 13 2023

It is vital for organizations to provide employees with a collaborative, comfortable, and inclusive workplace. You need to ensure that all employees are treated equally and there are no biases in your organization. It would be best to incorporate initiatives to avoid biases and challenges to inclusion and diversity in your organization, ensure worker well-being and professional development, and elevate the employee experience. 


You should ideate a plan that focuses on employee development, promotes an inclusive culture, enhances employee engagement, and acts as an excellent platform for communication with all employees. What can you do to implement an inclusive company culture? Starting an Employee Resource Group (ERG) can be a great way to provide a better working experience for employees and ensure employee identity is validated. 

Find everything you need to know about ERGs below. 


What Is an Employee Resource Group (ERG)?

Employee Resource Group is an initiative designed to provide an inclusive work ecosystem and resolve employee concerns related to career development, gender identities, racial tension, religious affiliations, professional growth, diversity issues, etc. Employees form and drive it to strengthen the working community and support fellow members with professional and personal crises. It aims to incorporate a diverse and inclusive workspace that co-exists with your company goals.


The head and the members of each ERG have a common identity or share common interests. If a black employee leads an ERG, the members of the ERG will also belong to the black community. It works to improve the lives of its members personally and professionally and strives to bring an inclusive workplace. It also plays a significant role in increasing healthy interaction between employees. 


While the primary intent of ERGs is to provide a forum for employees with everyday challenges to meet and mitigate those challenges, it also provides numerous other benefits for your organization, including customer relations, customer base retention, and returns on investments.


Why Does a Company Need ERGs?

Your company needs Employee Research Groups to enhance the working experience and ensure they provide employee visibility. A community of people or underrepresented employees join hands to support each other with their queries and the unfair practices that inhibit accessibility for employees like them. It also works on building a deeper connection between themselves and the organization and breaking the barriers to employee engagement. 


With the inclusion efforts of ERG members and your organization, employees can raise and resolve common issues that skip the awareness of senior leadership. The ERG members and the company leadership can collaboratively work on:


Importance of Employee Resource Groups for Your Organization

Employee Resource Groups bring value to your organization and employees in various ways. Here are a few reasons why ERGs are essential for your company.


Provides an Inclusive Work Culture

All employees have equal rights and should be treated with the same respect and dignity. They should feel a sense of belonging in their workplace. Organizations have people with diverse cultures, and it is your organization's responsibility to ensure that they provide a safe and inclusive environment for every employee. ERGs can help your organization maintain unbiased and fair practices by eradicating unfair practices and bringing inclusive communication. 


Improves Employee Experience

Each Employee Resource Group member is supported with career opportunities, career goals, an issue of workplace discrimination, and various other challenges. It supports employees by introducing career development courses and guidance on career management. ERGs provide full support to their members, making them feel included and supported, ensuring a great employee experience. 


Mitigates Challenges and Reduces Frustrations

Employee Resource Groups that are specifically developed to resolve specific issues or concerns can help senior leaders have full awareness of the issues in their organization. It supports individuals in tackling issues that are risky for them to manage without help. It eases their stress and fear by providing valuable support till the problem is resolved. 


Helps With Company Innovation

ERGs provide your company with excellent insights and experiences to promote and enhance employee equality. It provides a safe space for employees and makes them feel safe to share their thoughts and innovative ideas. It enables them to give 100% at their work, helping with company innovation. 


Finds the Best Emerging Talents

Employee Resource Group heads help in finding talents that the company leadership might miss noticing due to unintentional biases. It provides various opportunities for employees to connect with their seniors, colleagues, and mentors throughout the organization. It ensures all employees' work and talent are validated and rewarded. 


Improves Diversity

ERGs work on improving the sense of belonging of all employees. ERG members can participate in recruitment activities and diverse plans, showing the to-be employees that a supportive and welcoming community awaits them. The members also work with the senior leader and company chief to conduct common company events where all employees feel happy and included. 


How to Start an ERG

You should consider the below-mentioned ideas while starting an Employee Resource Group:


Ensure Your ERG Is Related to Your Organization's Business Plans

Your ERG's goal should align with your organization's vision and mission. You should choose a topic for your ERG that promotes inclusivity for employees and relates to your organization's goals. If your ERG's aim helps with organizational advancements, you will receive incredible support for your ERG. 


Find the Right Team Members for Your ERG

You should have a detailed communication plan and success strategies before hiring your team members. Hire members for your ERG who resonate with you and are enthusiastic about supporting and helping your ERG. Look for people who have leadership skills and are up to working on planning and conducting events for your ERG. 


Get Support From Company Executive

Your ERG needs to gain company executive support to continue working successfully. You should identify executives passionate about supporting inclusivity and diversity to join hands with your ERG. It is advisable to bring in the HR heads so that they will introduce your ERG during the hiring process and promote your ERGs. 


Implement ERG Program

You need to have a proper communication strategy. You can develop a presentation with your ERG's goal, event planning, and ideas to ensure improvement in the organization. You can also get help from the marketing teams with promoting and designing logos that align with the organization. It is also vital to secure the support and trust of your organization's leadership.


A Few Ways to Support ERGs in Your Organization

As an organization, you can support your employees to start ERGs through:


Timely ERG Program Approvals

When an employee comes up with an idea for an ERG program, it is best to provide timely approval as it would help them move forward with the plan and help fellow employees thrive in the organization.


Provide Extra Bandwidth

It is recommended to provide extra time for employees to work on their ERGs. It is hard for employees to concentrate on ERGs between their hectic working hours and personal responsibilities. It helps employees to work on ERGs if they are provided with a specific time to work on  ERG-related activities


Financial Support

All ERGs need support financially, so helping them with their finances will be a great way of assisting ERGs in your organization. You can discuss this with the accounting department and offer what you can to support them. 


Offer Enough Space and Support 

You can provide ERGs with separate spaces and meeting rooms for planning and presentations and arrange refreshments. It would be more helpful for ERGs if the marketing teams could help promote them and secure sponsors for events and courses. You can ensure ERGs get support from other teams and executives in all their activities. 


To Sum Up

Employee Resource Groups are essential for your organization to promote and provide an inclusive and accepting workplace for your employees. It supports employees with their personal and professional advancements. It makes unrepresented employees, represented and unfair practices fair. It also helps you improve employee satisfaction, retention, and experience.


ERGs help create a strong community for employees, making them feel accepted and valued. It makes employees feel content in their workspace, improving their productivity and ensuring they always give their 100% at their work. To empower ERGs in your organization, provide them with the freedom to design their values and missions and become successful in all their endeavors.  

Reach out to us if you want to know more about employee resource groups.

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