Organizations set up Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) or Business Resource Groups (BRGs) to help employees create a bond beyond just work. As organizations grow in employee numbers as well as locations, ERG awareness can take a hit. ERGs can face stagnant membership numbers and low engagement if not promoted well within the organization.
DEI team members and ERG Leads can work together to drive ERG visibility by adopting some tried and tested practices listed below.
Create ERG awareness during recruitment and onboarding
Introducing ERGs in the recruitment process gives prospective employees a glimpse of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) vision of the organization. Some companies include a video presentation about ERGs in the campus recruitment process. ERG awareness is also infused in the employee onboarding process through introductory mails. Some ERG Leads also conduct sessions for new joiners to familiarize them with existing employee networks.
Promote mentorship opportunities within ERGs
When employees get an opportunity to mentor within ERGs, their commitment to the cause grows. The ERG experience becomes more than attending events and adds a unique aspect of purpose. Such opportunities also provide employees a chance to hone their leadership skills. Some organizations have set up programs such as ‘Adopt an Intern Program’ where an intern is automatically partnered with a mentor who is an ERG Lead. These are win-win opportunities for the mentors, mentees as well as ERGs. Mentoring software solutions enable intelligent mapping and improve the effectiveness of the programs.
Provide visibility and access to all ERGs
The biggest challenge that companies face is spreading the word about ERGs to all employees across the organization. A member of one ERG might not know about another ERG that does not have a local chapter. Such unintentional silos affect membership numbers. The companies that have succeeded in overcoming this challenge have done so by moving from manual ERG management to single platform ERG management technology solutions. With such platforms, every employee can login and view all ERGs, their activities and events.
Ensure regular communication and conduct membership drives
Periodic emails and newsletters about different ERGs and their work can create a sense of intrigue in non-members. Witnessing their colleagues dedicate time and energy to an ERG with passion can spark interest. Timely and meaningful communication can be sent across different distribution lists with the help of ERG software solutions. Apart from this, some organizations conduct dedicated membership drives led by ERG Leads that apprise non-members about ERG offerings and actively recruit members.
Assign social and community events to ERGs
Some organizations assign the responsibility of planning and executing social and community service events to different ERGs. This ensures that non-member employees hear and learn about ERGs in some way. As a result, ERGs end up defining the social and cultural fabric of the organization and become part of the daily conversation.
Showcase the business impact of ERGs and BRGs
Various teams in an organization often work with Business Resource Groups (BRGs) and ERGs to factor community-specific sentiments into decision-making. The Product Development team working with differently-abled ERG members is a perfect example of how genuine business impact can be created through collaboration. Highlighting such success stories of ERG involvement in achieving business goals can nudge non-members into aligning with communities of their choice.
Creating ERGs is just the first step in achieving DEI goals. Nurturing ERGs and ensuring they grow and add value to the lives of employees as well as serve business goals is what makes a difference.