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Employee Resource Group (ERG) Strategy for Program Managers

Updated: Mar 26

ERG Strategy planning by ERG Managers

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.

ERG Strategy for Managers

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.

1. 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.

2. Organize an 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.

3. Invest in the right ERG platform

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.

4. Track the Business Impact of ERGs using 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. Read a case study 'Business Impact of ERGs' for more information.

Key Takeaways for ERG Program Managers

In the short video above, learn about the key takeaways shared by an experienced ERG leader. These insights focus on unlocking member potential, cultivating lasting relationships, and securing valuable support. By implementing these strategies, program managers can create thriving ERGs that benefits both members and the organization.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can Program Managers encourage participation in ERGs?

DEI and ERG Program managers can significantly boost ERG participation through a multi-pronged approach. First, they can raise awareness by launching targeted campaigns, especially during onboarding for new hires. Second, ensuring inclusive membership criteria, such as allowing allies to join, broadens the appeal of ERGs. Third, aligning ERG activities with overall business goals demonstrates their value to the company's success. Finally, encouraging leadership to participate in ERG events and speak openly about them sends a powerful message of support and inspires broader employee engagement. Read our detailed blog on how to increase ERG membership here.

How can Program Managers ensure that data collected on ERGs isn't misused?

DEI and ERG Program Managers can safeguard data collected from ERG members by adhering to strict data compliance guidelines. This includes utilizing secure platforms for data storage and communication, such as dedicated ERG platforms that integrate with the HRIS. Additionally, implementing user consent checks at key points, like during surveys, empowers participants with transparency and control over their information. Read this detailed blog that deep dives into the compliance measures that should be incorporated for ERGs to function smoothly.

How can Program Managers foster ongoing collaboration between different ERGs throughout the year?

Program managers can cultivate stronger collaboration among Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) by promoting multi-ERG events. These events, jointly organized and executed by two or more ERGs with a shared purpose, offer several advantages. First, they enhance the visibility of all participating ERGs, potentially leading to increased cross-ERG membership and a more interconnected employee network. Second, by dividing the costs associated with the event or activity across collaborating ERGs, the financial burden on individual groups is lessened. Finally, multi-ERG events distribute the planning and execution workload among ERG leaders, helping to prevent burnout and fostering a more collaborative leadership style.



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