An ERG is a company-recognized group of employees created within the organization with several key goals in mind; one main goal being the support of underrepresented employees.
These groups are led by and consist of volunteers who share common interests, backgrounds, or demographic factors. This can include similar:
- Religious affiliation
From ERGs, employees build friendships and community, share resources and support, and find an outlet to discuss meaningful topics. Employees who participate in an employee resource group often discover job support and find opportunities for career growth.
An example of an employee resource group in action could be:
An identified member of the LGBTQ+ community begins employment with a tech company. They are invited into the ERG group and make meaningful friendships with colleagues. These coworkers guide them through their first few months on the job and lend a hand when needed. Through the group, the new member also finds a mentor that not only helps them navigate the culture within the organization but also listens to any concerns the new employee has and works with business leaders to make constructive adjustments to policies and procedures.
How employers are benefiting from ERGs
By giving employees a safe place to express their views, speak up about concerns or share innovative ideas, ERGs provide business value with:
- Improved growth with the understanding of business performance.
- Deeper understanding of the customer through ERG insight.
- More employee engagement by creating a sense of inclusion.
- Improved employer branding with employee attractive programs.
- Deeper philanthropic connection with causes important to employees.
According to a report run by Bentley University, 90% of Fortune 500 companies have ERGs in their organization, including leading companies such as Hilton, HSBC, and AT&T. One example of a successful employee resource group is AT&T’s group called Faith@Work which brings employees together to open up the conversation and educate on faiths so there is a better understanding of differences and more collaboration.
How employers can engage ERGs
ERGs can be powerful agents of change within an organization and can help inform their organization’s philanthropic efforts- especially their DEI programs. By listening to their employees, and understanding what causes are important to them, employers can launch giving and volunteering programs and do more good in their communities. For more information on how ERGs can impact and inform your DEI efforts, see our blog post Connecting ERGs with DEI Efforts to Enhance Employee Engagement.