NAMMBA provides valuable support throughout the ERG lifecyle.
ERGs, also known as affinity groups, have existed within companies since the 1960s and are generally defined as a group of people who come together based on a common trait or experience to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace in line with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) strategy of the organizations they serve. While participation in a group is completely voluntary, they are generally led and participated in by a group of people within the workplace who share a characteristic whether that be gender identity, ethnicity, race, or even native language.
When implemented well, these groups become a critical part of an organization’s diversity and inclusion strategy and lead to opportunities for members to expand their network, interact with senior leadership, expand their own cultural awareness and grow both personally and professionally. According to TopMBA, ERGs exist in 90% of Fortune 500 companies.
There are several characteristics that successful Employee Resource Group programs have in common.
- Participation or sponsorship from senior executives
- Alignment with the mission, value, and goals of the broader organization
- Formation of a charter that guides the activities of the group
- Buy-in from a top-down AND bottom-up perspective
- Democratization such that organizational job titles and reporting structures cease to exist when ERG meetings are in session
NAMMBA Consulting provides valuable support throughout the lifecycle of an ERG program from corporate strategy and policy setting to group promotion formation to the facilitation of group charter, mission, and goals. We advise and guide group leadership to ensure positive outcomes that benefit members, the broader employee base, and the organization as a whole.
Some benefits of ERGs include:
- Helping marginalized or low retention rate groups of individuals feel connected through a common interest, cause, or experience.
- Improving the physical work environment for all employees through the implementation of snack areas, casual dress days, appreciation and observance of cultural holidays and observances, and quiet spaces for meditation or prayer.
- Providing a safe space for employees to discuss experiences and brainstorm conflict resolution with others that have similar backgrounds, experiences, or perspectives.
- Identifying strong leaders within ERGs whose leadership skills may be overlooked in the normal course of company business.
If you have employees who have expressed interest in creating an ERG, you feel that your organization could benefit from an ERG or you have an ongoing program that needs support, we can help you design and implement the optimal program for your employees using proven best practices.