Employee resource groups (also known as ERGs or affinity groups) are voluntary, identity-based communities formed by employees within the firm. Creating ERGs is one method to build a more inclusive environment and approach diversity and inclusivity in a more holistic, community-based manner. If your organization does not have a program for Employee Resource Groups, here's a look at ERGs and how they might be working together in your company.
ERGs provide resources to management regarding employee/community issues, needs, and policies. ERGs can focus on almost anything, from arts and crafts to diversity and inclusivity. ERGs cultivate a sense of belonging and spark conversations, bring fresh ways to think about issues, and spur innovation. They empower employees, giving every group a collective voice in speaking to decision-makers and leadership.
Creating ERGs at Your Company
To really empower and support ERGs, it is important that you grant ERGs the autonomy to determine their groups scope, determine eligibility for membership, and, above all, determine what success means to them. Once you know that your employees are interested in starting an ERG, you need to get executive buy-in in order to make sure that the new group is a success.
The Benefits of ERGs
These groups enable employees who share a commonality to get together, support one another, and achieve a specific result, which helps to enhance your company and their satisfaction in the workplace. Voluntary groups help employees of diverse backgrounds bond through shared passions, which improves relationships within a workplace, creating an increased sense of community. Groups can help to create a welcoming community for people of diverse backgrounds and demographics. Groups are also empowered to come together as a community and express concerns.
Groups exist to offer support and assistance with personal or professional development, as well as create a safe space for employees to bring their whole selves to the table. They are typically created around shared characteristics or individual characteristics, such as ERGs for women employees, members of historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, LGBTQ+ employees, veterans employees, etc. Whether projects are developed by ERGs themselves, or ERG members bring new perspectives to their day-to-day roles, the results are exactly the type of innovation companies need in order to evolve and grow.