What Is The Role Of An ERG (Employee Resource Groups)?
Updated: Mar 12
ERGs – What are they?
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), also known as Employee Affinity Groups or Employee Networks, are organized groups of employees within a company whose purpose is to provide support, professional development, and community for their members, while also serving as a bridge between the employees and the organization. ERGs are an important aspect of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, as they provide a platform for employees to connect with others who share similar experiences and backgrounds.
ERGs provide numerous benefits to both employees and the organization. As well as helping employees, ERGs serve as a valuable resource for the organization, as they provide insights and feedback on diversity and inclusion initiatives and can help attract and retain diverse talent. They can also serve as a valuable resource for senior leaders and decision-makers, as they provide a direct connection to the experiences and perspectives of employees.
The Evolution of ERGs
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) have evolved over time.
They have their roots in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, when employees of color formed groups to advocate for equal rights and opportunities within the workplace. Over time, these groups expanded to include other underrepresented groups, such as women, LGBTQ individuals, and individuals with disabilities, among others.
In the 1980s and 1990s, ERGs became more formalized and more widely adopted by organizations. During this time, many organizations recognized the business benefits of having ERGs, including increased employee engagement, diversity, and innovation. As a result, ERGs became an established part of the workplace landscape.
In recent years, the focus of ERGs has shifted towards promoting equity and inclusion in the workplace. ERGs are now seen as a way for organizations to address systemic issues, such as bias and discrimination, and to create a more inclusive and equitable workplace culture.
The evolution of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) has been shaped by the changing needs of organizations and employees over time. The ongoing evolution of ERGs will be shaped by the ongoing needs and priorities of organizations and employees in the future.
How Do I Decide Which ERGs My Organization Needs?
When determining what ERGs to set up, it is important to consider the needs and interests of the target audience and the organization's goals and objectives. A needs assessment can be conducted to gather data and feedback from employees and focus groups can be held to gather input and ideas.
Determining what Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to set up requires careful consideration. The following steps outline the process we would recommend for determining what ERGs to set up:
Assess the needs and interests of the workforce: The first step in determining what ERGs to set up is to assess the needs and interests of the workforce. This can be done through surveys, focus groups, or by talking to employees to determine what groups are needed and what their goals should be.
Evaluate the organization's diversity and inclusion initiatives: The organization should evaluate its current diversity and inclusion initiatives to determine if there are any gaps or areas for improvement. This can help identify the need for additional ERGs.
Review industry best practices: The organization should review industry best practices for ERGs and see what other companies in similar industries have done to promote diversity and inclusion.
Consider the organization's culture: The organization should consider its culture and how ERGs would fit within its current structure. This includes considering the organization's values, its commitment to diversity and inclusion, and the level of support for ERGs from senior leadership.
Determine feasibility and resources: The organization should determine the feasibility of setting up an ERG, including the resources and support needed to establish and maintain the group.
Collaborate with existing ERGs: If the organization already has existing ERGs, the steering committee should collaborate with them to determine if there is any overlap or if additional ERGs are needed.
Measuring the impact of ERGs
Measuring the impact of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) is an important step in determining the effectiveness of these groups in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within an organization.
There are three key determinants to successfully measuring impact:
One important consideration in measuring the impact of ERGs is the need for a long-term perspective. The impact of ERGs may not be immediately apparent, and it may take several years to see the full impact of these groups on diversity, equity, and inclusion within an organization. It is important to track metrics over time to ensure that progress is being made and to make adjustments as needed.
Another consideration in measuring the impact of ERGs is the need for a data-driven approach. Metrics should be chosen based on their relevance to the goals of the ERG and the broader organization, and data should be collected and analyzed in a rigorous and impartial manner. This helps to ensure that the impact of ERGs is accurately measured, and that progress can be tracked over time.
There are a variety of metrics that can be used to measure the impact of ERGs, including employee engagement, retention, and satisfaction surveys, as well as diversity and inclusion metrics such as representation and promotion rates for underrepresented groups. Additionally, organizations can track the success of specific ERG initiatives and programs, such as mentorship programs, networking events, and community outreach efforts.
In conclusion, measuring the impact of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) is an important step in determining their effectiveness. A long-term perspective, a data-driven approach, and the use of relevant and impartial metrics are all key considerations in measuring the impact of ERGs. By accurately measuring the impact of these groups, organizations can ensure that they are effectively promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion and creating a more productive and engaged workforce.
Case study: A global tech company and its ERGs
Dell is a multinational technology company that provides computer hardware, software, and services. The company recognizes the importance of diversity and inclusion in creating a supportive and inclusive work environment and has implemented several initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion within its workforce.
One of the initiatives Dell has implemented is the establishment of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), which are groups focused on diversity and inclusion and aimed at providing a platform for employees to connect with others who share similar experiences and interests, and to engage in initiatives and programs that promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Dell has ERGs for women, ethnic minority employees, and LGBTQ+ employees, among others.
Dell has seen positive results from its ERGs and diversity and inclusion initiatives. According to a recent report, Dell has increased the representation of women and underrepresented minorities in leadership positions and has made progress in promoting a more diverse and inclusive workplace culture. The company measures the impact of its diversity and inclusion initiatives through regular evaluations and assessments and has committed to continuing to work towards creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace.
To conclude, Dell is a company that recognizes the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and has implemented several initiatives, including Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), to promote diversity and inclusion within its workforce. These initiatives have led to increased representation and promotion of underrepresented groups, and a more diverse and inclusive workplace culture.