Business Resource Groups (BRGs) are becoming more common within organizations as business objectives become the center of focus especially when the economic conditions are not favorable.
The evolution of Business Resource Groups (BRGs)
According to the history and evolution of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), they started out as internal communities for underrepresented groups. ERGs provided an avenue for employees to discuss the unique challenges and shared experiences of those who belong to minority groups. Then came the turning point when organizations realized the power of diverse and inclusive communities. These groups were then given additional goals and responsibilities and were transformed into impact centers.
What are Business Resource Groups?
Over the years, organizations realized the value of ERGs and the potential they had to positively impact the workplace. This led to the introduction of Business Resource Groups (BRGs) which are evolved ERGs involved in the strategic initiatives of the organization. BRGs are aligned to business objectives. They work towards improving company policies and processes, contribute to product and service innovation and are directly connected to key business goals such as employee retention, customer experience, talent acquisition and more.
How Business Resource Groups operate and make an impact
When Business Resource Groups are created they are aligned with internal goals such as increased diverse representation in leadership roles and higher employee retention or external goals such as contributing to marketing objectives through insights and collaborating with external partners to create community impact. Executive Sponsors of ERGs as well as ERG Leads are responsible for creating a plan of action to achieve those goals. Key metrics are tracked and each BRG is evaluated periodically on their achievements.
For example, at Ingredion, one of the three things that the BRGs are supposed to be able to do throughout the year is close the gap on the business and product knowledge. Their Empower BRG, which empowers employees with disabilities, partnered with business leaders to provide input on how one of their products for people with dysphasia can be made more accessible to all by altering its packaging.
At Takeda Pharmaceuticals, their BRGs (called TRGs internally) provide input about diversity in clinical trials as well as in pilot programs with HR for diversity recruiting as well as retained. Their Take Pride Group (LGBTQIA+ BRG) influenced and gave feedback on transgender guidelines. Takeda’s Latino Group Impacto does a program called La Vos where healthcare providers and patients are invited to share their experiences from a cultural perspective and discuss challenges related to Health Equity.
BRGs align with corporate social and environmental goals and bring them to fruition by partnering with nonprofit organizations to bring about change. They also provide a sense of purpose to its members. BRG members get recognition for their contribution and underrepresented voices also get a platform to influence products and processes. BRG leaders get visibility with senior executives to showcase their leadership skills.
Support and leadership buy-in for BRGs
BRGs have clear goals that impact business and can demonstrate their value addition to the organization and senior leaders in review meetings and presentations. A BRG that is proactive and identifies opportunities where it can contribute and create impact by partnering with various internal departments positions itself to receive support from senior leaders in the organization. In such cases, BRGs are provided budgets to promote and support their initiatives and in the form of BRG management technology solutions that can simplify their work and reduce repetitive work.
Business Resource Groups are a great way to build internal communities that are driven for a greater cause and organizations should invest in them for a brighter future.