Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Ask Catalyst ExpressOct 21, 2020
Many ERGs have evolved from purely social groups to entities that are closely aligned with business goals and career development. ERGs today typically work on recruitment, retention, career development, and skill-building. They address issues in the workplace, develop client and business opportunities, expand cross-cultural and global understanding and by reaching out to communities, build corporate responsibility. Unlike other types of groups, many ERGs align themselves with the business goals of the company.
To ensure their business focus, ERGs should do the following: create a strong, organization-specific business case; develop a mission statement, objectives, and guidelines; identify the group’s leadership and membership structure; determine specific areas for activity that are relevant to the group’s constituency; create metrics to track effectiveness; and report regularly to the executive sponsor, D&I Office, and/or HR.
Catalyst ERG Resources
Implement and Maintain ERGs
- The Catalyst Guide to Employee Resource Groups Supporter Exclusive
- Introduction to ERGs
- Developing ERG Infrastructure: A Step-by-Step Planning Guide (see also: Japanese translation)
- ERG Governance: Leadership Roles and Structure
- Building Support and Working With Other Constituencies
- Action Planning and Effectiveness Tracking (see also: Japanese translation)
- Troubleshooting, Membership Issues, Success Factors, and Future Directions
- Medtronic: Igniting Women to Lead Through the Medtronic Women’s Network Supporter-Exclusive
Excerpt: Rather than trying to mandate diversity from the top, he engaged the Medtronic Women’s Network (MWN), which currently has more than 15,000 employee members in 68 countries, to make Medtronic an inclusive workplace everywhere in the world. The MWN established a three-part strategy and worked on the ambitious company goal of 40-30-20: 40% or more women in global leadership at manager level and above, 30% or more women globally at manager-level and above in Research and Development (R&D), and 20% or more ethnically diverse managers in the United States by the end of 2020. Enlisting the women’s network was an important move—one that has helped Medtronic to accelerate internal change.
- Bank of America – Investing in Women Supporter-Exclusive
Excerpts: The company’s strong system of Global Employee Networks, which are sponsored by senior leaders, is one tremendous resource that was already benefitting many employees. These networks have more than 120,000 memberships, and members are enthusiastic about the valuable leadership, networking, and visibility opportunities they provide.
Bank of America has multiple networks specifically designed to enable women to do their best work and develop the skills they need to grow into future roles. Collectively, these women’s networks have more than 35,000 global members. The LEAD for Women employee network offers learning, training, mentoring, and networking opportunities that help women do their best work and gain the experiences they need to assume more senior roles. But LEAD wanted to go above and beyond typical network activities. In 2016, the network began partnering with the Domestic Violence Task Force, which has hosted more than 100 training sessions to educate employees about how domestic violence impacts communities and employees, the resources and partnerships available to those affected, and national and local volunteer opportunities. The Life Event Services team, in partnership with the Task Force, has assisted nearly 1,500 employees since 2016—it has helped employees file restraining orders, provided emergency funds for transportation to shelters, offered guidance on how to talk to coworkers who appear to be in trouble, advised on how to make safety plans, connected to back-up childcare resources to be utilized during a lastminute move, and given suggestions on how to support a family member, among many other services.
- Eli Lilly and Company – Employee Journeys and People Strategy Supporter-Exclusive
Excerpts: Employees of different dimensions of diversity also support one another through Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), which are open to anyone from any background who wishes to join. Roughly 14,600 employees are members of at least one of the 75 chapters of Lilly’s 11 global ERGs. This number has increased from 11,000 in 2015, and represents nearly 40% of all employees.
Leaders and employees across the ERGs were heavily engaged in the individual Employee Journeys— in analyzing data, communicating key messages, and helping plan Innovation Labs and events where the results of Journey research were shared and discussed with the rest of the company. In particular, the Men as Allies group, a grassroots effort driven by passionate male leaders who were moved by the Women’s Employee Journey to spread awareness among men, has been critical. Engaging men is an important part of any diversity initiative at companies where men are a significant majority.
- Building Impact Across Women’s ERGs Supporter-Exclusive
- Driving LGBTQ+ Inclusion During the Disruption: The Strategic Advantage of ERGs Supporter-Exclusive
- Think Global. Act Local. Supporter-Exclusive
- What Happens When Men Join ERGs That Aren’t “for Them”
- 5 Ways Employee Resource Groups Are Helping During Covid-19
- Busting Myths About ERGs, One Resource at a Time
Other ERG Resources
- Best of Both: ERGs and Inclusion Diversity Best Practices
- The Business Benefits of Resource Groups DiversityInc
- How to Form a Mental Health Resource Group Harvard Business Review
- The Evolution of Employee Resource Groups, Forward Trends, and New Solutions Snowden & Associates
- 6 Trends Driving Cutting-Edge Corporate Women’s Networks Thrive Global
- Employee Resource Groups Are Taking a More Collaborative, Intersectional Approach—and It’s Working Working Mother
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