Employee Resource Groups, also known as Affinity Groups, are voluntary employee-led groups that can promote inclusion and diversity within an organization. They’re often comprised of employees with common backgrounds, interests, and identities. ERGs can contribute to an employee’s sense of belonging and are also considered an important way for organizations to support their diversity and inclusion goals.
ERGs can be a great way to build community and support among employees who share a common identity or experience, but they require careful planning and execution in order to be successful. Here are five things you need to do before creating an ERG:
- Get clear on why you want to start an ERG. Has there been interest from others? Is it coming from leadership? What problem are you trying to solve?
- Build support from senior leadership. This is essential for ensuring that your ERG has the resources and backing it needs to be successful. Make it clear that this isn’t something that’s simply a nice perk for employees, but an important strategy for engaging and retaining staff with marginalized identities and a platform for connection that will strengthen the company.
- Recruit passionate and committed members. Your ERG will only be as strong as its members, so it’s important to find people who are passionate about the group’s purpose and are willing to put in the work to make it successful. Make it clear what commitments look like and that recognition will be given to those who step into a leadership role for an ERG.
- Create a sustainability plan. How will you ensure that your ERG remains relevant and active over time? What kind of events and activities will you organize? How will you engage with other parts of the organization?
- Develop a clear structure and governance model. How will decisions be made? Who will be responsible for what? What are the group’s goals?
By taking the time to plan and prepare before launching your ERG, you can increase the chances of success and make sure that it has a positive impact on both individuals and the organization as a whole.