By now most of us have heard about all the racial conflicts which have been erupting across the United States. From Charlottesville’s protest to the protest here in our very own backyard in Boston, the racial tension is at the highest it has been for years. As we continue to diversify the workforce it will become more prudent , to address these issues in some form at the workplace.
However most business owners, executives or managers are now wondering how to properly deal with these issues. This is where Employee Resource Groups(ERG) are helpful. ERGs are voluntary, employee-led groups which consists of individuals in the company who join together based on common interests, backgrounds or demographic factors such as gender, race or ethnicity. If your company does not have any ERPs, here are three(3) reasons why they are essential for your place of business
- They create an inclusive open forum for staff who share common interests/concerns to meet and support one another .
These groups create a safe place within the company for growth, understanding, compassion and empathy. All these are emotional traits which could affect the employee work life balance, and strengthen the relationship with the organization. When you have a safe place which practices mindfulness (self-awareness) and empathy , it becomes easier to shed destructive behavior or avoid inappropriate situations which may occur. For example some ERGs host company online or offline “company fireside chats” which offers associates and executives the ability to share their thoughts, perspectives and participate in debates and discussions. These events build trusting relationships between employees and the company and lead to better employee retention.
2. They encourage Talent Engagement, Development and Retention.
Employees involved in resource groups may have developmental opportunities available that they would not otherwise. For instance, non-management employees often develop leadership skills by participating in network groups. These groups provide formal or informal mentoring which help employees develop their professional goals and connect with colleagues. This indication of commitment to growth at all levels helps employees feel more engaged, not just senior leaders and shows employees there’s a future for them at the company.
3. They can provide a resource to the company’s leadership regarding diversity of staff/community issues, needs, and policies.
A huge benefit of an ERG lies with the diversity on various aspects of business operatives, policies and procedures. Creating an ERG that blends internal business diversity with associated businesses and linking employee diversity and products borne of that diversity captures more interest among business associates. For example groups have created policies and procedures which are designed to influence major decisions and actions of the organization. This may affect social impact initiatives and partnerships supported by the organization.
The importance of ERGs to any organization is immense. As an employee, if you are not sure how or where to start , first find the organization’s policy toward such groups and what are the required steps for establishing the group. If there is no process in place for forming groups, ask if you can create one. Then, find a few people interested in forming a group. As an business owner, executive or manager start with finding the number of employees interested in forming a group , then draft mission statement guidelines for the group, formulate ,prioritize goals and draft a budget.
If you are interested or need help starting an Employee Resource Group ,contact the Tech Connection and speak to one of our experienced diversity and inclusion consultants at info@TheTechConnectionInc.com
The Tech Connection is a diversity concierge platform which innovative companies use to assess, attract, match and empower highly skilled diverse talent. Our team is fast-paced, dynamic, innovative and collaborative environment. We are dedicated to improving the success rates of underrepresented talent. We work tirelessly to inspire the next generation of future tech leaders.