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5 Steps For Creating an ERG

The five steps for creating an ERG

Employee Resource Groups are employees who join together in their workplace based on shared characteristics, interests, and personal experiences. ERGs can cover a variety of topics including gender, sexuality, faith/religion, disabilities, working parents, etc. If you feel as though you could benefit from a group sharing similar characteristics, then chances are other employees in your company probably feel the same way. A successful ERG takes planning and preparation. Here are five tips for creating an ERG:

1. Seek Input from Employees

The first step to creating an ERG is to speak to your fellow employees. It is vital to talk to a variety of employees from different departments and locations to understand where they could be better supported. A great way to cover a large sample of employees is to send out an online survey, allowing other employees to share their opinion and personal experiences. The feedback from the survey and conversations can also help you find employees interested in joining your ERG. Another resource is your HR team, who may be able to help with internal requirements for starting an ERG. 

2. Speak to Managers and Executives

While an ERG is amazing for employees, studies have shown that an ERG can also help with company success. When you speak to managers or executives, it is critical to make the case for diversity, inclusion, and belonging and how they can be profitable for the company. You may show examples proving above-average financial returns, increased innovation, and increased productivity. Executive sponsorships are also beneficial for the company to show commitment to diversity and inclusion. An executive sponsor can provide guidance and promote group activities and impact company-wide. 

3. Form Mission and Structure

The mission stems from the input you gathered from your fellow employees. When forming the mission for your ERG, you must ask yourself: “what do I hope to accomplish by forming this group?” Your purpose may be networking, professional development, community support, or more. Next, you must establish the structure for your ERG. An easy way to begin structuring your group is to delegate roles and responsibilities. Who are the ERG leaders, event coordinators, membership leads, etc., and what does their role entail? You must also plan communication amongst group members and decide when and where meetings will take place. Seek input from group members to understand what type of meeting works best. Virtual meetings can help with attendance as they are more flexible for employees in different time zones or working from home. 

4. Allocate Resources 

While your group members may have passion, they need to have well-planned events, programs, and opportunities to succeed. Your budget might be small in the beginning, so consider keeping your programs and events obtainable at the start. Start by taking on one event at a time and assess the effect. As your ERG grows, you can begin offering a stipend to ERG leaders as they will begin taking on more responsibilities. According to a Mercer study, ERGs have an average annual budget of $7,203 for every 100 group members (not including the cost of technology, facilities, and staff support).

5. Collaborate With Other Programs

Each ERG has a specific mission, but people are not defined by one aspect of their identity. For example, you can be a woman, parent, African American, etc. Employee resource groups must work together to amplify mutual interests and have a holistic perspective. Collaborating with other employee resource groups can also help you see what works and what doesn’t work for each group to reach your fullest potential. 


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