What Are Employee Resource Groups?

An employee resource group is a voluntary, employee-led group with a common purpose, formally supported by the company. They are formed based on common interests, such as background, religion, lifestyle, gender, sexuality, or hobbies.


ERGs are used to support diversity initiatives and foster inclusion within an organization. They enable employees to voice their concerns, share ideas, or just be themselves within an environment catering specifically to other employees of a shared background.



Why are ERGs Important?

ERGs are a crucial part of creating a supportive environment for employees. They provide them with a welcoming and inclusive space to freely express their concerns, ideas, and challenges that are specific to the ERG.


Affording this space to employees can boost morale, and improve engagement, and retention. They also play an important role in bringing diverse perspectives to the workplace. Management can leverage ERGs to gain valuable insights, identify areas for improvement, and advance DEI initiatives.


Additionally, ERGs help build a sense of community within the workplace, fostering stronger interpersonal relationships and collaboration between employees.



Types of Employee Resource Groups

ERGs can be formed around various identities or interests, including:

  • Identity-based ERGs:

    These groups focus on shared demographic characteristics, such as gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status.

  • Interest-based ERGs:

    These groups center on shared professional interests or hobbies, such as technology, sustainability, or health and wellness.

  • Career-based ERGs:

    These are based on shared career paths or job roles. For example, sales employees from different departments may collaborate and share unique challenges and how they overcame them. :

  • Well-being ERGs

    These focus on employees who are undergoing or have overcome mental or physical health challenges. They provide an invaluable resource for employees to gain support and advice.

  • Professional development ERGs:

    These are designed to help employees looking to advance their careers and skillsets. Senior employees can provide advice and mentoring to juniors.

  • Volunteer ERGs:

    Employees looking to volunteer in local charities and community organizations can collaborate, plan, and schedule their volunteering initiatives.


How to Start an Employee Resource Group

Here are some basic pointers to help you get started

  1. Identify the purpose:

    Determine the primary objectives of the ERG, based on the type of ERG you’re looking to create. Different types require different leadership roles or none at all. So it’s crucial to first decide who it’s for and what you’re looking to get out of the ERG.

  2. Gain support from the company:

    Secure backing from senior management to ensure the ERG receives the necessary resources and visibility.

  3. Establish a structure

    Define the ERG’s leadership roles, governance structure, and meeting schedules.

  4. Develop a group charter:

    Create a charter outlining the ERG’s mission, objectives, and operational guidelines.

  5. Plan the group activities:

    Organize events, workshops, and initiatives aligned with the ERG’s purpose.

  6. Measure the impact:

    Regularly assess the ERG’s effectiveness through feedback and performance metrics.

  7. Use the right communication tool:

    Having the right communication tool is crucial for an ERG’s success. Platforms that enable discussions, file sharing, event planning, and surveys can significantly enhance member engagement and collaboration.

Gain Communication Clarity with Spike