Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are the pulse of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within organizations. They foster belonging, attract and retain talent, and drive business results. Yet, despite their undeniable value, many ERGs face a constant hurdle: inadequate budgets.
Research from The Rise Journey reveals that 21% of ERGs operate with no budget at all why others have annual budgets which are far from adequate. While other research revealed that ‘more’ funding was the top answer (61%) for desired improvements in ERG programs.
So, how is the "right" budget determined for an ERG? It's not a one-size-fits-all answer. Effective budgeting requires strategic alignment with the ERG's goals, membership size, and planned activities.
Employee Resource Group (ERG) Budgets: Four Approaches
Equal allocation: In this budgeting approach, each ERG receives the same amount of budget at the start of the year. The ERG leaders can decide on how they would like to utilize the budget over the course of the year. In this approach, all ERGs are treated equally irrespective of the number of members of each ERG.
Per-person allocation: In this approach, funds are allocated based on membership numbers. For example, if $10 is allocated for every member, then an ERG with 1000 members receives a budget of $10000 and an ERG with 500 members receives $5000. This approach encourages ERGs to increase their membership numbers.
Activity-based allocation: Funds are requested for every event or activity that the ERG wants to undertake. A detailed proposal justifying resource needs is shared with the ERG Program Manager and funds are allocated after approval. ERGs that are more active and that plan out ERG events well in advance benefit from activity-based allocation.
Hybrid: This approach combines elements of the other approaches as per the needs of the organization. All ERGs can have an equal budget or a baseline funding per member while offering additional grants for specific events or activities.
Advanced ERG management software have built-in features for budget management including providing a program-wide budget overview, allocation of budget, tracking of expenses, approvals and more.
Maximizing ERG Budgets
Here are some ways they can get more out of the program.
Seek sponsorships: Partner with relevant internal departments or external vendors to share event and program costs. For example, an ERG can work closely with the Marketing department to share their insights on consumer behavior and partner with them on an event, thus, leveraging the department's resources for increasing ERG visibility and membership.
Multi-ERG Events: Collaborate with other ERGs to pool resources and host joint events. Such collaboration provides ERGs with high membership numbers with much-needed resources for large-scale events while providing visibility to smaller ERGs and helping them utilize their budgets more effectively. Multi-ERG events can be easily planned and executed with the help of ERG management software like Teleskope.
Get creative: Explore low-cost or free alternatives for professional development sessions, communication tools, and event venues. Support local businesses and entrepreneurs from marginalized communities to share their stories and patronize their products and services.
Measure and report using the right technology: Track the impact of your activities and demonstrate ROI to secure future funding. Investing in an ERG management platform can benefit all ERGs as it reduces the hours spent by ERG Managers and Leads on manual, repetitive tasks. The long-term benefits of investing in ERG software outweigh the initial investment amount by consolidating multiple tools used for administrative purposes.
For an ERG to get funds and budget allocation, it needs to demonstrate the value it adds to the organization. When ERGs contribute as Business Resource Groups (BRGs), their strategic value becomes evident to senior leaders, stakeholders and other decision makers. By exhibiting an impact on business objectives such as employee satisfaction, employee retention, employee performance and inclusion at the workplace, ERGs can secure their place in the organizations. Learn more about how a global consulting firm unlocked the power of technology and data to demonstrate the impact of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) on business objectives.
By optimizing ERG budgets and maximizing resource utilization, ERGs can be empowered to ignite inclusivity, drive progress, and propel organizations towards a more diverse and equitable future.