Tips to grow and engage your Employee Resource Group
Once you have a functioning Employee Resource Group in your organization, it is essential to work toward growing your ERG and engaging its members to achieve the goals and objectives set out in your charter. While your ERG agenda is going to be unique to the organization and employees, here are some ways to start thinking about your growing and engaging your ERG.
Growing your ERG
One of the primary goals of a functional and robust ERG is to continue growing, increase recruitment, and retain a healthy membership. Here are a few ideas that can help your ERG grow:
1. Hosting open sessions and events
Hosting open sessions and events helps ERGs interact with members of the organization who might be a good fit for the ERG. When employees get to witness the impact that ERG events have on the affinity groups, and the benefits for employees themselves, they will be able to assess how being a part of the ERG can contribute to their well-being at the workplace.
2. Marketing your ERG within the organization
Use avenues like internal company newsletters, announcements at all-hands meetings, update emails to all employees, posters/flyers at company notice boards, and word of mouth to market your ERG and its activities within the organization. The more the employees are exposed to the ERG and its activities, the more members it will attract.
3. Informing new employees
Get in touch with the HR of your organization and make sure that the onboarding of new employees involves informing them about the ERG and its activities.
4. Collaborating with other ERGs
Collaboration with other ERGs is not only a good way to share resources and avoid duplication of efforts but is also a great way of interacting with members of other ERGs within your organization who may be the right fit for your ERG too.
Engaging your ERG members
Engaging ERG members regularly is one of the struggles that ERGs face constantly. It is also the reason why many of them fizzle out. Here are some ideas that can help you continuously engage members of your ERG:
1. Organizing meetings and reviews
As an ERG your members must meet regularly to facilitate a safe space for employees of your affinity group to debate and discuss their issues at the workplace or simply connect and bond. These meetings can be official with discussion agendas, informal dinners, or lunch get-togethers. Regular meetings have been known to foster solidarity, boost confidence, and strengthen women employees of organizations (source).
To succed in the ERG's purpose, it is also extremely important to get constant input from your members and review the impact of activities and events that the ERG executes. Monthly meetings and reviews can help you stay in touch with members and make sure that your agenda is aligned with the real challenges members face at the workplace.
2. Hosting engagement activities
In addition to monthly meetings and reviews, there are numerous other engaging activities that your ERG can organize. Some of these include:
a. Awareness campaigns
Increased awareness of issues faced by affinity groups inside and outside the workplace is one of the central goals of most ERGs. Your ERG can look for fun ways to spread awareness about those issues including organizing fun quizzes on rights and important heritage events. Another way is to make flashcards with awareness messages that can be donated to NPOs, thus creating an impact inside and outside your workplace. Discussions around famous leaders from the affinity group in history can also be exciting and fruitful for your ERG.
b. Host a movie screening
Movie screenings are a great way to engage your ERG members. Pick from a list of films that focus on issues faced by the affinity group or other themes like rights, justice, etc. Depending on the popularity of screenings at your ERG events you can also screen informational documentaries and videos.
To make screenings more fun and impactful, be sure to hold a fun quiz about the topics covered in the film before the screening and a discussion panel after the screening. The session can end with a summary of key takeaways from the film and session.
c. Organize mindfulness sessions
ERGs are important in workplaces because they help to reduce anxiety and create a safe workplace for employee communities. Mindfulness sessions are a great way to help employees relax in the workplace which leads to greater productivity and concentration. Meditation, yoga sessions, mindful immersion, etc. are ways to stimulate mindfulness in the workplace. This event can be open to the broader organization or can also be organized in collaboration with other ERGs in the company to ensure greater participation and more impact.
d. Mentoring programs
One of the core work areas of an ERG is providing mentoring and professional guidance to members of the workforce. Therefore, mentoring programs and sessions should be an integral part of your ERG calendar. These sessions can help coach employees for executive positions and higher managerial and leadership positions in the organization.
Read "Top 9 Activities and Event Ideas for Employee Resource Groups" for more ideas.
3. Building an annual volunteering calendar
An activity that brings all three - awareness, engagement, and impact together - is to volunteer for a cause that uplifts members of the affinity group. Volunteering is one of the most powerful activity ideas for any ERG for multiple reasons:
- Helps raise awareness for employee volunteers,
- Creates social impact outside the organization in affinity group communities,
- It’s a great way to celebrate important heritage events at the workplace,
- The number of beneficiaries, volunteering hours, and number of volunteers are all powerful quantitative metrics to track and report for the impact created by your ERG,
- It has a massive second-degree impact on workplace culture.
These volunteering sessions can be offline for close-knit teams or online for remote, hybrid, and global teams. Build an annual volunteering calendar with Goodera where you can choose from a rich catalog of purpose-driven campaigns around multiple cause areas curated for an engaging experience for your employees.
4. Reporting the impact created by your ERG
With all the impact that your ERG activities create within and outside your organization, this impact should be regularly reported to the stakeholders including leadership, sponsors, members, and other employees of the organization. This helps not only in maintaining the organization’s faith in your ERG but also in recruiting and retaining members.
a. Build tangible awareness
Awareness about your ERG activities can be created through multiple channels including marketing emails and newsletters covering recent activities and their impact and posting updates about upcoming events on relevant company forums. Make sure that you reach out to employees outside of your ERG membership for these. The more visibility your ERG gains, the better.
b. Report Quantitative numbers
Monthly, quarterly, or yearly reports sent out to stakeholders must include quantitative numbers that reflect the impact your ERG has created with its activities. These may include:
- Number of Meetings/activities/events
- Qualitative feedback and testimonials received from ERG members
- Volunteering numbers
Read next: ERG Best practices