Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Program Managers are responsible for creating, curating, managing and growing initiatives that promote diversity, equity and inclusion at the workplace. Employee Resource Groups are the cornerstone of these programs and contribute to the well-being of employees by championing inclusion.
Program Managers set up Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and nurture them, often adding more groups to the program every year. However, a long-term ERG strategy of how to sustain and expand these D&I initiatives is missing. Here are some strategic steps that managers can take to ensure their efforts pay dividends in the long run.
Form Councils and Forums
Program Managers should form Diversity and Inclusion Councils and Forums. These councils typically include the Leadership team, Employee Resource Group Leaders and Managers of other D&I initiatives. They meet at predefined intervals to discuss the status and impact of all D&I initiatives. Councils are a great way to ensure various programs stay on track and that the bigger long-term picture is always in focus. Diversity and inclusion forums give a platform to all employees to discuss topics with a bigger audience. Forums also facilitate brainstorming new ideas and provide a platform to discuss issues that need corporate attention.
Annual ERG Summit or ERG Day
Setting up a day specifically to celebrate and support Employee Resource Groups (ERG) is a novel way to create ERG legacy. On this dedicated day of the year, every ERG should be spotlighted. Each ERG should be given an opportunity to share inspiring stories about their members and their impact. The efforts of ERG Leads, who often work on initiatives beyond their regular work hours, should be felicitated at this event. An organization-wide ERG Summit leads to exchange of ideas among ERG managers and leaders from all over the world. It promotes innovation and encourages collaboration among multiple ERGs creating a lasting impact.
Invest in the right Technology
Investing in the best technology can considerably reduce hours of manual repetitive tasks done by employees using multiple independent applications. This overload of work can lead to burnout. All this time and effort can be better utilized for creative and strategic work. Comprehensive platforms that provide one-stop solutions for employee resource groups, mentoring, and internal communication can reduce costs by application rationalization. Also these technologies have advanced reporting and analytics capabilities which can provide insights to progressively improve programs. Technology solutions also enable a process-centric approach to management over a people-centric approach thus, shielding it from the impact of employee turnover.
Track Business Impact with Data
For ERG programs to keep flourishing with support from the senior management, they need to demonstrate good ROI and impact on business. Program Managers and ERG Leads must track ERG metrics and conduct monthly or quarterly reviews on growth and engagement. With the help of software solutions, parameters such as employee satisfaction, employee retention and talent acquisition should be measured along with DEI data and ERG metrics. These data points also aid governance and compliance of ERG activities which is of utmost importance to organizations. Designing the right data views will showcase the progress of all DEI initiatives and ease the process of workflow and budget approvals, thus ensuring all employee programs enjoy uninterrupted support and growth for years to come.
The visibility of diversity and inclusion initiatives like ERGs and their impact on employee experience and business goals plays an important role in these programs standing the test of time. Companies who are celebrating decades of having homegrown ERGs have done so because they have implemented ERG strategy and prioritized diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) from the start.