Get to know ERG (Employee Resource Groups), or employee communities.
ERGs are groups of volunteers and motivated employees who gather together around a hobby, characteristic, or common interest for the purpose of its promotion and development within an organization and community.
The concept consists of employees at all levels and from all departments of the organization who are connected to the central theme of the group and strive to take part in its promotion.
These employee communities meet regularly and around a structured program that is backed and promoted by the organization, which provides them with knowledge and tools for dealing with the challenges in their field.
Here’s the kicker: the power of the community lies in the diverse composition of its members and in the authentic interest they have regarding their specific agenda.
In recent years, the ERG concept and its organizational, business, and social potential have become sought after and implemented by many large organizations. Both ideologically and financially, companies are beginning to see the value of ERGs.
What are the main objectives of ERG?
A sense of belonging
The very existence of a community of employees in a particular field, and the fact that one can take part in that group, creates a deeper connection to the workplace and a sense of belonging to the organization.
People from different departments and different fields come together on the basis of a common theme outside of their professional pursuit. This helps produce a strong social network, which empowers each and every employee.
The feeling of mental and emotional security that comes from a sense of belonging helps employees to truly express themselves in the workplace. This means they can promote organizational goals from a place of genuine involvement and caring rather than a sense of duty alone.
Working for change
Employee communities are a place to share ideas through fruitful dialogue. The various abilities of the group members, as well as the fact that its members come from different departments within the organization and have diverse fields of knowledge, enables a fruitful, creative, and innovative discourse as well as the promotion of initiatives and changes within the organization.
Employee Resource Groups are able to carry out these initiatives. The support and backing that the groups receive from the organization’s management make it possible to promote the ideas that arise in the group and turn them into significant changes that can improve the company.
Employee communities are a clear expression of the culture of diversity and inclusion that exists in an organization. The fact that they are composed of employees from different sectors and fields, engaged in open dialogue, promotes an inclusive and respectful work environment.
The result: business growth
ERGs can have a crucial impact on an organization. They can influence recruitment and career development processes as well as business decisions, such as product launches and marketing strategies. Community insights can be used by the organization in development, innovation, and response strategies to problems and needs that were previously unknown.
Additionally, many target audiences might be present within an ERG. Organizations can learn about these target demographics from the employees. Through the ERGs, the organization can learn more about the segment each ERG member represents, providing crucial knowledge of potential and existing customers as well as the market.
Work communities can act as a bridge to customers, enabling the organization to reach a much wider population. An active community helps in the proper onboarding of new employees and their retention as well.
Every demographic, gender, and characteristic among the working population has representation in different ERGs. When people have a place to make their voices heard, change is possible.
Going the Xtra Mile in promoting ERG
An organization needs to have a coherent plan to succeed at implementing and promoting ERGs.
It does not need a program that dictates to communities what they will engage in and what decisions they will make. Rather, the environment should be one that allows the organization to give employee communities tools, assist those communities, and measure their impact and success.
A strong framework and support system strengthens the groups and helps them create the visibility and change they strive for.
Xtra Mile, which specializes in employer branding, has extensive experience in building and developing employee communities.
We can create content, ERG “roadmaps,” and budgets; develop workshops and provide tools and platforms relevant to the ERG process; empower senior management; create transparency within the organization; and promote interaction between management and ERG communities.
Xtra Mile develops a customized program for each organization, and each community within the organization, based on the content and challenges of each community, the composition of its participants (i.e. demographics), and our own extensive experience in the field.
There is no doubt that the promotion of Employee Resource Communities is of immense value to an organization, its employees, and the entire community in which it is situated.