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Employee Resource Groups

As companies work to build more diverse and inclusive work forces, their commitment to initiatives such as Employee Resource Groups (commonly known as ERGs) is on the rise.

This brief article explores how ERGs are not only powerful for group members, but for your company’s recruitment and talent acquisition strategy as well.

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) – A definition

Wikipedia describes Employee Resources Groups (ERGs) as “groups of employees who join together in their workplace based on shared characteristics or life experiences.”

ERGs are generally based on providing support, enhancing career development, and contributing to personal development in the work environment.

Companies such as Google, Nasa, AT&T and many, many more, have a range of ERGs – these groups offer a powerful network for like minded people to connect within your company.

A quick overview of ERG benefits:

  • Connect diverse people within your company
  • Create an opportunity for employees to more casually work with (and network with) others outside of their current department or workgroups
  • Create a sense of belonging and support
  • Establish a support system for people who share common stories or experiences
  • Provide fellowship and friendship for its members
  • Members have the opportunity to meet other employees or management who are not in the ERG but are supportive of their cause
  • Members access the ERG’s executive sponsor(s) and other company leaders, not often otherwise available to that employee

The great news is that ERGs have multiple benefits for your recruitment and Talent Acquisition (TA) function as well. Here’s how:

  • Education of recruitment teams and hiring managers leads to more diverse, inclusive hires

Find ways to have your recruitment team, TA specialists and hiring managers meet with your ERGs to better understand the qualities, attributes and challenges of each group.

More informed interviewers have greater empathy for minority groups and work hard to avoid bias in interviews. Over time, this behaviour leads to more diverse and inclusive workforce.  

  • Better and more diverse referrals

By actively communicating with your ERGs that you want more people like them in your company, you are creating a powerful and useful referral funnel.  

  • Employee Value Proposition (EVP) uplift

Assuming you are looking to support a diverse range of employees in your company, ERGs act as a powerful component of your EVP.

By talking with candidates about how you support and connect those within the company (via your ERGs and other methods), you are signalling that they are an important and pivotal part of your company ecosystem.

  • Improved employer brand reputation

Good news travels fast. Those companies that form successful and thriving ERGs for their employees, are being showcased in digital (and print) media, left, right and centre. And that is great news for employer branding!

Diversity and inclusion is important to top talent. Find ways to promote how well your ERGs work, and this good news story is likely to lead to the attraction of higher quality candidates to your company.

Maximise the benefit of ERGs in your company by developing a strategy to leverage them – your efforts will be rewarded with a more diverse mix of high quality candidates in your recruitment pipeline.

Further Reading and Resources

Google’s ERG commitment

How to retain diverse talent

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