Does your company have an employee resource group (ERG)? If so, why did your organization start an employee resource group?
To help managers understand their employees’ needs, we asked CEOs and communication directors this question for their best tips. From honoring your company’s diversity to encouraging connection in the pandemic, there are several advantages that may help you understand the need for ERGs for your company.
Here are eight suggestions for starting employee resource groups:
- Honor Your Company’s Diversity
- Keep the Door Open for Your Team
- Impact All Areas of the Business
- Push Innovation for Employee Experiences
- Make Remote Space for Team Members
- Prioritize Employee Socialization
- Promote Company-Wide Equity
- Encourage Connection in the Pandemic
Honor Your Company’s Diversity
At this time, we have three ERGs. Each ERG was formed to give our diverse teammates the opportunity to network with their peers, gain more exposure to leaders across the company and actively participate in meaningful events at Freedom and within the community. Freedom Riders, Freedom Pride, and Freedom Heroes are just the beginning of our ERG initiative as we look to the future and the addition of new ERGs that closely match the diverse backgrounds, identities, and values of our employees.
Heather Marcom, Freedom Financial Network
Keep the Door Open to Your Team
While KUBRA doesn’t have any official ERG just yet, we do have a formal policy in place whereby employees can start their own ERG group, if they wish. Each week, this program is highlighted in our employee newsletter, KUBRA Corner, to ensure everyone is in the know. We also highlight this program in quarterly Town Halls and our Manager newsletter.
Alex Arkarakas, KUBRA
Impact All Areas of the Business
A lot of the companies we work with for health and life insurance have reported that their ERGs have helped improve retention rates and reduced employee turnover. Since employee turnover often is analyzed when assessing insurance quotes for businesses, a positive side effect of ERGs is that they can actually help insurance rates be more competitive. While this should not be the main motivation for starting an ERG, it seems that the organizations with them are able to better retain their employees, which helps in more areas than just insurance rates.
Chris Abrams, Marcan Insurance
Push Innovation for Employee Experience
Since our founding in 2008, we’ve worked with some of the leading companies in the world including Microsoft, Harvard University, Lyft, and more. Each of these organizations is looked at as a company that helps pioneer different diversity and inclusion initiatives. That’s exactly why ERG’s get started: to continuously push organizations to be better when it comes to employee experiences. By forming groups, organizations can innovate in a formalized way.
Eli Patashnik, iFax
Make Remote Space for Team Members
Being part of an SEO agency that is entirely remote, I’m happy to report that it has always felt like I’ve had the space to ask questions or just feel like I belong. Our company culture is ripe with opportunities to feel connected. The connection stems from our company values that embrace uniqueness, morning meetings that cover more than work, and a lively set of Slack channels for everything from our intern group to International Women’s Day. Creating space for workers to nurture their interests and work relationships should be a priority for all companies, especially those embracing remote work.
Meryl Schulte, Markitors
Prioritize Employee Socialization
ERGs are incredibly important for the health of my organization, especially when we have hundreds of employees and volunteers partaking in our global projects. ERGs foster safe spaces for employees and volunteers with similar backgrounds and lifestyles to meet, socialize, and find solutions for the most pertinent problems facing our society. They also help employees get to know each other on a deeper level before they decide to fly overseas and work within a chosen community. Overall, ERGs have dramatically improved the working conditions within our organization, and I highly recommend them for nonprofits in similar positions. Additionally, we can start to see emerging leaders and organizers come through our ERGs.
Chris Kindler, Alight
Promote Company-Wide Equity
Our Diversity and Inclusion Panel is an internal group that is run by team members and is independent of senior management. The panel is responsible for two main types of operations. Firstly, to propose and encourage initiatives that promote equality across the board, both in the company itself and externally, with particular attention to marginalized groups. Secondly, to monitor and report on possible discriminatory acts that, consciously or not, may occur in the company. We launched the panel in June 2020 during the Black Lives Matter protests as a way of acknowledging that we, as a company and as an industry, could be doing more to support underrepresented groups in SEO.
Jordan Francis, Blue Array
Encourage Connection in the Pandemic
I do content marketing for a B2B eCommerce payment processing company and not too long ago we formed an employee resource group (ERG) for employees who were feeling negative effects from the pandemic. Whether it was the social distancing, knowing people who caught the virus, actually having the virus, or anything else, this last year put a lot of mental and physical stress on people. Our company wanted to be proactive and have a resource for coworkers who are being affected. We formed the group so that coworkers could talk to each other, share their stories, and offer ways they’ve found to deal with all the chaos of living in the pandemic. Our company values our employees and tries to actively be a part of keeping everyone healthy.
Francesca Nicasio, Payment Depot