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How to Ace the First ERG Meeting and Increase ERG Participation

  • Omer Usanmaz
  • October 10 2023

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are internal committees that promote and empower employees belonging to various backgrounds, identities, or experiences, such as race, faith, and sexual orientation. These teams' goals are to empower diverse team members and encourage more inclusive behaviors across the company. These teams are often led by employees and are voluntarily formed and organized. These committees are a strategy for increasing employee participation and enhancing corporate culture.

The First ERG Meeting

If properly implemented, Employee Resource Groups can allow businesses to interact with their workforce in various ways, from hiring, retaining, and advancing people to assisting with corporate objectives.

The first step in an ERG's mission would be to organize regular meetings of members and leaders to socialize, network, and make decisions about the future objectives and journey of the collaboration of the ERG and the company.

The first meeting must be about setting attainable short-term goals that efficiently work towards the attainment of the big-picture goals that ultimately make the organization an inclusive and diversified workplace that accepts and empowers one and all.

The first ERG meetings create an environment for employees where an inclusive work environment starts to be built eventually turning into successful ERG programs.

A few key objectives to discuss at the first ERG meeting would be:

  • How to provide optimal networking opportunities, professional development, and career development opportunities with effective goals for members of the ERG and the company's employees as a whole.
  • How to develop and foster an inclusive workplace that accepts all backgrounds (people of color), faiths, gender identities, and sexual orientations.
  • The best ways to provide the ERG members with personal and professional support, confidence, camaraderie, and a sense of belonging that ultimately make the workplace a safe space for all employees.
  • Various ways to spread awareness about diversity, inclusion, and allyship programs and activities.


Increasing ERG Participation and Engagement

Here are a few effective ways to increase ERG participation and the impact of ERGs.

Voluntary Participation

ERGs function best in groups of devoted participants actively participating in the work. No team member should, however, ever feel compelled to join and take part. ERGs are not there to serve the employees; the reverse is true.

Furthermore, even with the best intentions, pressuring people to join ERGs might come out as tokenistic because they frequently revolve around identities.

Listening to Member Opinions and Suggestions

ERGs are run by employees. Members should have a say in how the group is organized and administered. Ask participants to create a mission statement and brainstorm ideas for the group during the initial meetings. Members must decide who leads the group by voting.

Additionally, there should be a procedure where members can participate and contribute, like open forums or member presentations. Employee resource groups (ERGs) should be able to make a difference, which entails giving each member the tools necessary to do so.

Professional Development Opportunities

Support for career development is one of the key goals of employee resource groups. Ensure to provide opportunities for professional growth in the group's regular programming.

An easy way to organize educational and developmental activities and programs might be to get a team member from a specialized or niche department to speak on their subject.

If you need clarification on the type of development opportunities to provide, ask the group members to share the learning opportunities they find most appealing or think would be most helpful. Making this gesture demonstrates your dedication to advancing the professional development of your group members.

Final Thoughts

Employee resource groups allow team members to network with coworkers across the organization, especially with like-minded people who have similar employee experiences and can commiserate while providing support and guidance. This sense of belonging can aid various team members in establishing connections and improving collaboration with their immediate teams.

These organizations' existence demonstrates the value of inclusivity in the workplace. Effective leadership of Employee Resource Groups offers members and the company an efficient chance to grow together through collaborative efforts.

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