As we know, a sense of belonging is fundamental to creating an inclusive workplace.
Employee Resource Groups (ERG) are a great way to foster belonging in the workplace. And, as we know, a sense of belonging is fundamental to creating an inclusive workplace.
Here we look at what Employee Resource Groups are and how they contribute to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
What are Employee Resource Groups?
Employee Resource Groups, as the name would suggest, are employee-led and designed to contribute to a culture of connection among colleagues.
ERGs usually bring together people who share a characteristic. This could be gender, ethnicity, religion, or interest. However, allies of the cause can also be invited to join the group.
The idea is to create a safe space so the group can work together to talk about barriers they face in the workplace. Members may also talk about hurdles to their own personal or career development. It’s a group where all members are heard, and each has a seat at the table to discuss business cases for decisions that will promote inclusivity.
ERGs have been credited with:
- improving work conditions for underrepresented groups.
- identifying up-and-coming leaders in the workplace.
- tackling company-wide challenges.
ERGs and promoting diversity and inclusion
How can you create an ERG to effect real change in the workplace?
Groups can be initiated bottom-up and top-down. Employees may raise what type of ERGs they want in the organisation, or the leadership team may survey their staff to determine what change they want to see in the workplace. Regardless of the catalyst, it’s integral the leadership team is on board with the establishment of an ERG.
The group must have a clear mission statement that sums up what they hope to accomplish. Typical areas of focus might be belonging, career development or addressing an employee attrition spike. Other groups might align their mission statement with their company’s goals, such as hitting diversity and inclusion targets.
If the ERG is starting out, its goal might be quite small. Such as creating a social event. But, don’t be fooled – a group of engaged employees can still have a big impact on an organisation, no matter how small the goal.
Remember to track the success and the impact of your ERG. Simple metrics include event attendance, survey participation and the number of new members per year. With the right support and an engaged workforce, your ERG can effect real change in the workplace.