You have probably heard the word Employee Resource Group. It’s something that has become a lot more common in work. But what does this mean and why is it important for a company?
What is Employee Resource Groups?
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are voluntary employee-led groups that encourage inclusion, diversity, and community building in the workplace. ERGs are an initiative that is formally supported by an organization where the group provides both personal and professional support to its members. Employee Resource Groups are support groups rather than an exclusive initiative. The members of ERG group share certain things in common. These are the basis of organized ERG group, characterized as identity, gender, religious affiliation, age, shared interest and many more. Membership can include people from these groups as well as allies who are willing to help. Each company can have unique designs on their groups, but common Employee Resource Groups may include:
- A network for people of color
- A network for people with disabilities
- A working parent’s support group
- A women’s network
- A LGBTQ network
Why are Employee Resource Groups important?
Employee Resource Groups are important to a company’s diversity and inclusion strategy. The groups exist to provide support in personal or career development and to create a safe space where employees can have open conversations where everyone can feel comfortable sharing their experience. The employees know that their insights are valued by their organization where they are confident to share it. This is an important component towards company innovation. ERG groups are transparent forums for employees who share a common identity to raise common concerns or issues, especially those that company leadership might not be aware of. Cultural awareness is crucial if a company wants to be more inclusive. ERGs encourage decision-makers and employees to learn more about other cultures. This will lead the company towards a positive direction in inclusivity and strong teams.
How can you start?
To create a successful ERG, it’s important as a manager to support the group and help in any way you can. Here are three ways on how companies can help an employee to start an ERG:
- Provide employees time allotted for their resource group
Give employees time during their working hours to work with their
- Contribute with support and resources
Help with the possible resources available. It can be financial
support, office rooms, conference rooms, etcetera.
- Raise awareness within the company
Make sure all departments within the company are aware of an ERG
under startup. Colleagues may be encouraged to help or take part as