Organizations are working towards creating diverse and inclusive workplaces for all. Setting up Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) has been a popular and effective way of providing a safe haven.
While zeroing in on which ERGs should be established first or added to an existing program, organizations should explore all types or categories of ERGs. A healthy mix of different types of ERG ensures every employee feels included as part of one or more internal communities at the workplace. Well-thought out ERG programs can do wonders for employee well-being especially after the forced isolation of the pandemic. Listed ahead are types of ERGs or broad categories of ERGs with examples.
Identity-based Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are those which are created based on ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability etc. These ERGs allow individuals with common backgrounds and shared experiences to come together in a space of understanding and community. Examples of identity-based groups include:
Asian and Pacific Islander ERG
Health and well-being ERGs
There are Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that cater to the health and well-being of employees. These ERGs acknowledge the invisible challenges that individuals undergo. Those who have physical or mental health struggles as well as caregivers who support such individuals need an ERG where they feel understood. Primary caregivers might need additional support and consideration from the organization which can be voiced in ERGs. Parents, whether they are different-sex parents, same-sex parents, single parents or foster parents, all need a community to share the unique experience of being a working parent. Examples of ERGs of this type include:
Chronic Illness ERG
Employees who are passionate about contributing to the community and impacting society need ERGs with similar goals. These community-centric ERGs are dedicated to making a difference with the support of its members. Volunteering, conducting donation drives and fundraisers, mentoring, showing solidarity, petitioning for reforms are some of the activities taken on by these ERGs. Examples of community-centric ERGs include:
ERGs associated with specific organizations like the Red Cross
Professional development ERGs
Another type of Employee Resource Groups are those that help employees learn and grow professionally. These ERGs members have some commonality in their work experience or in their career goals. Such ERGs provide a space for guidance and information-sharing. Training, networking, mentoring, learning communities, knowledge sharing sessions are activities taken up by these ERGs. Examples of professional development ERGs include:
Young professionals ERG
Women in Tech ERG
ERG Mentoring Programs
Interest-based ERGs are a great way to bring together employees who have shared interests and hobbies. Employees spend a large part of the day at the workplace and these ERGs help in forming a connection and making friends. Active participation in interest-based activities can elevate employee well-being and a positive association is created with respect to the workplace.
Examples of interest-based ERGs include:
Employee Resource Groups that have goals and deliverables aligned with company objectives are called Business Resource Groups or BRGs. BRGs are evolved ERGs and are treated as any other department and undertake projects that benefit the organization. BRGs validate the investment done in ERGs and provide senior leadership with outcomes and results that positively impact business growth.
Every ERG depending on its type would need a different approach to how it is managed, led and promoted. ERG program managers should ensure their programs nurture and support all different types of ERGs to ensure employees have a holistic experience of community and belonging.