Employee Resource Groups or Affinity Groups or Employee Networks promote a diverse and inclusive working environment that aligns with business goals. A Women’s ERG is one such community that has now become a must-have in every organization.
While setting up a Women’s Network can seem simple and straightforward, it is important to focus on maximizing the potential of this community to benefit employees as well as the company. A typical Women’s ERG plans events and activities to help women employees bond and provides a platform for dialogue. But with the right growth strategy in place, it can be so much more.
If your organization is in the early stages of ERG adoption, here are some parameters you can focus on to take your Women’s ERG to the next level.
The Women’s ERG is a great starting point to build relationships and draw inspiration from senior managers who are part of the network. However, a formal mentorship program can bring about a massive shift if executed properly. A mentorship program in conjunction with a talent development program can help build the caliber and confidence of the next wave of female leadership. ERG Management softwares having the plug-in features of talent development and mentorship program management can ease this process and provide rich dividends.
Be honest and transparent
Build trust with your women’s community by being honest and transparent about critical matters such as pay parity and gender parity in managerial roles. Publish accurate numbers and rope in their support to achieve the diversity goals of the organization. Initiate discussions on topics which are usually neglected and provide an open platform for problem-solving and collaborations.
Allyship encompasses any employee in a place of privilege extending support and solidarity with those who need it. This includes privileged colleagues advocating opportunities for women of colour. It also includes men standing up for women colleagues and confronting discrimination witnessed by them. ERG Management technology can create cascaded roles for members and allies.
Take it truly global
If your organization has a global footprint, the Women’s ERG should be utilized to connect and empower women the world over. Conduct virtual events and conferences to spread the word of gender equality in the workplace. Ignite conversations around challenges faced in different geographies and use the information to create policies that empower women across the workforce.
While juggling roles as caregivers in the pandemic, burnout escalated much faster among women than among men. Conducting regular surveys among the members of the Women’s Network will help gauge the real-time challenges faced by female employees and can serve as input for relevant changes in work-related policies.
Form Business Resource Groups
Take the Women’s ERG to the next level by elevating it to a Business Resource Group (BRG). The Women’s BRG can contribute to key decision-making scenarios by sharing their insights as a consumer and enable the organization to make important product and marketing decisions. The BRG should be assigned goals that would have a direct impact on the bottom line.
ERGs will evolve as they grow and organizations should focus on bettering member experience and monitoring the impact of ERGs on business goals.
 Women in the Workplace 2021 (McKinsey)