Now, more than ever, employees value purpose-led company culture over most other factors. Diversity in the workplace, strong robust employee resource groups, and a socially impactful CSR strategy ensure that employees feel a sense of belonging and purpose at work. Research shows that companies with diversity and inclusion at the forefront tend to outperform their competitors by about 35% (Source).
Corporate Social Responsibility, Diversity and Inclusion, and Employee Resource Groups are branches of an organization that can be better understood as overlapping circles because their functions, goals, and events are often shared. There are numerous benefits to aligning your ERG strategy with your organization’s broader CSR goals, some of which we will discuss in more detail in this article.
Benefits of Aligning ERG goals with CSR strategy
While Employee Resource Groups and Diversity and Inclusion teams focus on the organization's internal communities, the Corporate Social Responsibility strategy tends to focus on external communities and the impact your organization can create outside itself. This does not mean that the two lack shared goals and initiatives. In fact, aligning these programs with each other can help reinforce objectives and strengthen results for both parties.
When ERGs and CSR initiatives are aligned:
- The talent pool attracted by the organization is diversified as job candidates are drawn to employers and organizations that are dedicated to social issues and true social integration.
- Existing employees in the company feel a greater sense of purpose and belonging at work as their values and the organization’s commitment to social impact are aligned.
- ERGs find increased leadership support, better funding, resources, and opportunities for collaboration since CSR initiatives enjoy greater organizational and strategic support.
- Both CSR and ERG teams do not end up spending individual resources on the same membership management lists, event planning, and communication.
- Employees can feel a sense of empowerment inside the organization while helping create social impact outside the organization.
How to align ERG strategy with CSR goals
To align Employee Resource Groups and Corporate Social Responsibility within the organization:
- Leaders and heads of the teams must come together to identify key areas and causes of interest shared by both teams.
- Teams should facilitate sharing of resources and strategies for identified cause areas.
- Teams should arrange activities and opportunities that allow employee groups to participate in creating an impact for their communities outside the organization, thus fostering both internal ERG engagement and external CSR initiatives.
- Both teams come together to execute shared events, report numbers, and share impact within and outside the organization.
Having a purpose-led strategy that creates an impact in the world is the best way to align both CSR and ERGs. This can include social impact rewards, workplace giving activities, volunteering, etc.
Shared Activity Ideas for ERGs and CSR
Shared activities for CSR and ERGs can include volunteering to:
- Create learning aids to promote education among girls
- Make your workplace sign-language inclusive
- Raise awareness for violence against women
- Help mentor LGBTQIA+ youth in your career streams
- Create care packages for the rehabilitation of veterans
- Make your workplace inclusive for people with disabilities
- Help mentor youth from disadvantaged backgrounds
- Raise awareness for mental health at the workplace
- Make affirmation walls at the workplace for marginalized communities
- Celebrate heritage months at the workplace
For more shared activity ideas, check here.