Learn how to create, fund, lead and maintain an effective ERG in your organization.
Employee resource groups (ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led groups whose aim is to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with the organizations they serve. They’re formed around specific identities (like race, gender, sexuality, or ability) or specific roles (like caregivers or remote employees). Their goal is to give employees a safe space to connect, raise awareness about issues facing their community and to advocate for improvements in their workplace experience.
They foster a sense of belonging by providing a safe space for people from marginalized communities to connect with like-minded individuals. For business, they’re vital for attracting talent, developing employees and building community.
ERGs are found in 90% of Fortune 500 companies. Yet, only about 5% of companies actually compensate ERG members. Their members are often without recognition, balancing their day-to-day responsibilities with the needs of the ERGs. Hence, many ERG members & leaders feel burned out.
Also, the majority of ERG work is delivered by BIPOC individuals and women of color, who historically perform more invisible labor and are paid less than their White and/or male peers.
Lastly, ERGs tend to focus solely on one social identity category at a time, and primarily work in isolation rather than in coalition.
Effective ERGs are both top-down and bottom-up. Executives need to fully support, fund and endorse ERGs, or even better, sponsor and become their full participants.
Intersectional approach is also necessary because we have multiple identities. Organizations can incentivize working together to bolster one another’s efforts and ERGs also can evolve from independent councils to a larger coalition.
Lastly, don’t get stuck in ideation. Knowing that time & resources are limited, it’s best to prioritize one or two initiatives and accomplish them.
Follow these steps to fund and maintain an ERG:
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