Employee engagement and talent development programs are transforming to keep up with a hyper-connected world with hybrid work environments. One-size-fits-all engagement activities and generic learning programs no longer interest the new-age workforce.
People managers as well as talent development and talent retention teams are moving towards new programs to keep employees engaged. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), the cornerstone of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, are being looked at through a fresh lens of how other employee programs can be enhanced in conjunction with ERGs.
What are ERGs?
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are employee programs designed to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging at the workplace. ERGs, in the recent years, has become a must-have in organizations committed to improving diversity and inclusivity proactively. They facilitate a positive work environment by giving underrepresented groups a voice. Employees are gravitating towards organizations that have active ERGs.
What is Mentoring?
Mentoring is the process of sharing information and knowledge. In a corporate setting, mentoring programs can be created with different outcomes and topics. The structure is either traditional or peer-to-peer in a one-to-one or group setting. Modern mentoring programs are challenging the norms of mentoring programs and are exploring new ways of meaningful information exchange.
What is ERG Mentoring?
ERG programs and mentoring programs have co-existed as separate entities often managed by different teams. However, when ERGs and mentoring come together, a number of possible avenues of enhanced employee engagement opens up.
ERG Mentoring is the symbiotic relationship between ERGs and mentoring programs. Mentoring programs can be initiated within ERGs as part of their offering. ERG members can choose to participate in the intra-ERG mentoring programs. On joining an ERG they can volunteer as a mentor or sign-up as a mentee. When ERG members are matched as mentor and mentee, there is an exchange of information related to the ERG’s purpose.
Another instance of ERG Mentoring is when ERG data serves as input for mentor-mentee matching algorithms. ERG membership data can be a common element and can lead to a more meaningful association between mentor and mentee as they could have shared experiences. For example, a mentor and mentee of a professional development mentoring program, both part of the Women in Tech ERG, will have more in common than if they were to be paired without taking that data point into consideration. ERG data is one of the many attributes in the matching algorithm. The seamless flow of ERG data into mentoring programs is made possible with Teleskope’s comprehensive platform.
Inter-ERG or external mentoring is one more way of combining the power of ERGs and mentoring. In this case, members belonging to one ERG mentor members of another ERG to increase awareness of the challenges faced by the ERG community. This type of mentoring is usually peer-to-peer, in a one on one or group setting. An ERG member can also mentor a non-ERG member and share ERG-specific insights that could impact future policies and processes. For example, a member of the LGBTQIA+ ERG can mentor an HR policy team member on the challenges faced by community members during the hiring process as well as share how employee policies can be made more inclusive for all.
Employee Resource Groups and mentoring both tap into the innate need for connection and understanding at the workplace. ERG mentoring is the next step in the evolution of employee programs and should be introduced and encouraged in organizations committed to employee well-being.