ERG Resources From Catalyst

Strengthen your organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives with effective ERG programs and resources to help align ERGs to business goals.

What are ERGs?

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Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led groups based on shared characteristics or experiences and provide a platform for employees to connect, share ideas, and work together to address workplace issues. ERGs may also be known by different names—Affinity Groups, Business Resource Groups, Diversity Groups, Employee Network Groups, Business Network Groups, Enterprise Resource Groups, Councils, Forums, and more—depending on the organization and focus.


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ERG impact at the workplace

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ERGs offer numerous benefits to organizations and help promote DEI in several ways, including:

  • Building community: ERGs are a safe space for employees to connect with others that share their identity or experience and foster a sense of community and belonging.
  • Provide resources: ERGs can provide the support and resources employees need, including career development opportunities and mentorship programs. ERGs can help employees from marginalized groups level up and obtain some of the benefits other employees have traditionally have enjoyed.
  • Advocating for change: ERGs can be champions for change within an organization. This includes raising awareness on bias, developing DEI programs and strategies, employee recruitment and retention, and an engaged talent pipeline for advancement.
  • Impacting the business: ERGs can help businesses understand cultural and regional differences. They can also help build meaningful relationships with community partners that align with the company’s values, leading to a more inclusive future for all.

Types of ERGs

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While ERGs vary from one organization to another, here are some of the most common types:

  • Gender-based ERGs: These groups focus on supporting and empowering members and allies based on gender identity or expression.
  • LGBTQ+ ERGs: These groups provide support and advocacy for LGBTQ+ employees and work to create an inclusive workplace, raise awareness, and address issues related to LGBTQ+ rights.
  • Ethnic and Cultural ERGs: These groups aim to support employees from various backgrounds, nationalities, or cultural identities. They may promote cultural awareness, provide networking opportunities, and celebrate diversity.
  • Parents and Caregivers ERGs: These groups provide support and resources for caregivers and working parents. They focus on issues relating to work-life balance, parental leave policies, child and senior care, and provide resources and networking opportunities.
  • Ability ERGs: These groups support and advocate for employees with disabilities and neurodivergent individuals. They focus on awareness and education, advocacy for policies and practices, job accommodations and support, and social events and networking that support neurodivergent individuals.

 

ERG Resources

Catalyst has everything you need to succeed with ERGs, whether you’re an experienced ERG leader, member, executive sponsor, an HR or DEI practitioner, or someone interested in starting or revamping ERGs at your organization. Our Supporter Organizations get access to the following resources:

 

ERG Discussion Guides

Tools to facilitate open dialogues on various DEI topics.

ERG Tool Kit

All the resources needed to create, engage, launch, measure, and refine ERGs.


Best Practices From Catalyst Award-Winning Initiatives

An interactive tool to help you learn how ERGs benefit your organization and create a more inclusive workplace.

Practices

150+ organizational practices to help tackle DEI and business challenges, including those from Catalyst Award winners.


Recorded Webinars

On-demand access to DEI knowledge and success stories.

ERG: Ask Catalyst Express

Curated resources, including Catalyst Supporter-exclusive resources.

 

 

Attend enERGize on 5 June 2024

Join 900+attendees at enERGize, a half-day virtual event focused on creating, transforming, and empowering employee resource groups (ERGs).

ERG leaders, members, sponsors, and DEI practitioners will learn to build cost-effective ERGs that drive inclusion, employee engagement, and retention in a shifting labor landscape.

 

Get ready to level up your ERG.

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JUNE 5, 2024 | ONLINE

enERGize by Catalyst is a virtual leadership summit for ERG leaders, members, sponsors, and DEI practitioners who want to transform their workplace culture, and boost employee retention and engagement through ERGs. Attendees will learn how to leverage Catalyst’s unparalleled research in the DEI space and gain innovative tools and solutions to build cost-effective ERGs that drive inclusion, employee engagement, and retention in a shifting labor landscape.

Catalyst is recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for SHRM-CP®️ or SHRM-SCP®️ recertification activities.

Attendees gain 4.75 PDCs towards recertification!

 

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At our online enERGize event on June 7, 2023, the chat exploded with dynamic comments and questions posed by participants. We answered as many questions as we could in real time. Below are several additional questions, along with answers from our Catalyst team of subject-matter experts.


How do you recommend DEI practitioners address allyship within ERGs that have a desire for privacy in affinity spaces? How do we build more trust?

Allyship can be addressed in ERGs that have members with a desire for privacy by segmenting events and meetings. If the ERG wishes to speak candidly and privately about a topic or issue, they may specify that certain meetings or convenings are for identity members only in order to ensure safety and free dialogue. ERGs can then hold separate meetings for allies, where they may discuss the same topic or a related one from an ally’s point of view. Sharing across these groups as appropriate, identity-based members can then disclose learnings or general conclusions with allies. Allies need to recognize and respect the needs of identity members, and this is a way to keep everyone involved.


How do you balance a portfolio of ERGs so they are not competing against each other (with events, communications, etc.)?

Communications can get overwhelming based on everything else that is going on in the company or organization. Often ERG leaders will tie their communications to other vehicles like broader newsletters, HR emails or announcements, and quarterly updates. Leaders can also create a shared calendar of events across all ERGs to coordinate events and communications for employees. For Catalyst Supporters, check out our communications plan in the Catalyst Guide to Employee Resource Groups tool for more insights!


Previously, it was discussed that ERG leaders should belong to a marginalized identity group to improve representation and inclusion across an organization. How do you ensure that chapter leaders are not engaging in bias when determining new leadership?

Many ERG leaders are chosen through an interview process similar to what occurs when a business role is open. Candidates may be interviewed by ERG sponsors and others involved in the ERG and measured against agreed-upon criteria. As with any interview process, bias can be reduced or eliminated if interviews are conducted in an equitable and structured manner.

Other organizations use a nomination method to select ERG leadership. This may be based on interest by the individual, recommendation by leadership for the role, or in conjunction with HR to fulfill goals and development plans. Executive sponsors and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion departments should track metrics like diversity of ERG leadership.


We have an ERG called Planet United—however, we often find that it is difficult to move past the “Let’s recycle!” topic every month. Do you have any suggestions on how to feel that we’re progressing within our ERG? What are your metrics for success?

Connect to the goals of the organization and set short- and long-term goals: One of the important things ERGs with an environmental focus can do is come together as a group and set the goals they want to achieve for the year, as well as long term.

  • Whether or not your organization is taking active steps to become more sustainable, there are ways to connect your environmental ERG to broader organizational goals. Identify one business goal that you can more closely align with and discuss existing opportunities. Bring in the business leader responsible for that goal to share ideas and brainstorm.
  • From this initial discussion, identify areas you feel your ERG can have impact in the short and long term (no matter how big or small).

Look for quick wins that build visibility for the ERG: Share messages through your intranet highlighting upcoming recognition days such as World Environment Day, World Cleanup Day, Earth Day, etc. Include in the message the goals of the ERG and the importance of recognizing the date you’ve highlighted.

  • You may also think of a campaign that all staff can get involved in without much effort, such as a “Get Out in Nature” photo challenge or a cleanup activity (either as a group or encourage solo cleanup efforts). If you have a budget, offer incentives to join in! Celebrate by sharing photos and impact after the campaign ends.
  • Create an educational activity encouraging all staff to learn through various mediums such as podcasts, webinars, videos, reports, and news.

Lean into what the group is passionate about: If recycling keeps coming up during meetings, think of ways to make that a bigger conversation.

  • Have a conversation with the group responsible for recycling at your company’s location(s)—this could be internal staff members or a building manager. Host a learning session open to all employees to learn more about where recycling goes and how to reduce waste.
  • Encourage ERG members to volunteer at a local recycling or donation store (such as a Habitat for Humanity ReStore).
  • Connect with your IT department to see where e-waste goes and if there are partnership opportunities to ensure these are recycled in an environmentally-friendly way.
  • Ask the group what other areas they are passionate about and build similar activities for those.

Additionally, metrics for success could include the following:

  • Number of employees who participated in campaigns such as cleanup activities.
  • Number of nature photos or number of regions/countries/cities covered in a “Get Out in Nature” campaign.
  • Number of environment-related podcasts, webinars, videos, reports, etc. consumed by ERG members throughout the year or during specific campaigns.
  • Number of learning sessions delivered to amplify awareness related to the ERG’s mission; and number of participants who attended those sessions.
  • Number or value of donations provided through campaigns such as Habitat for Humanity ReStore; number of volunteers engaged.

Get in Touch

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Contact your Relationship Manager to learn how to unlock the full potential of ERGs in your organization and create a more inclusive workplace culture.