How to drive inclusion through Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

How to drive inclusion through Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

Today, more and more companies are prioritizing diversity. Unfortunately, many corporate workplace diversity efforts often fall flat – unless employees truly feel that they belong. It is not enough just to hire underrepresented candidates; building community and providing resources for professional development through Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are integral to ensuring that employees feel included, welcomed, and heard. Below are some tips for driving engagement through your organization’s ERGs, along with examples of organizations that are doing it well.

 

Build support networks internally, with opportunities for mentorship.

At Asana, named one of the one of the best workplaces for women, the AsanaWomen ERG creates multiple entry-points for females to connect with their community – whether through structured events, monthly saloons, or candid conversations with industry leaders. By holding judgement-free discussions and creating mentorship opportunities with senior leadership, Asana allocates time and resources to supporting women, enabling females to build the confidence and community to thrive.

 

Engage with community organizations.

Looking beyond your company, build partnerships with nonprofits and local organizations. Outforce is the LGBTQ+ affinity group at Salesforce. During Pride month last year, Outforce members spearheaded the creation of a partnership between Salesforce and The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youth. By creating employee volunteer opportunities, donating booth space to The Trevor Project at Pride events across the US, and hosting The Trevor Project at company webinars, Salesforce provides an excellent example as to how to tangibly support equality efforts – both within and outside of the organization.

 

Put allyship into action.

In addition to building inclusivity within your company, active ERGs can also strengthen your product or service for the communities you serve, as seen with Airbnb. Last year, a transgender employee asked a colleague at Airbnb how he could change his pronouns on his Airbnb profile, as well as in previous reviews guests had left for him. This sparked the creation of Airbnb’s Transgender Employee Resource Group, as well as the implementation of a policy in which any employee, guest, or host could change their gender pronouns on the platform. By listening to employees, Airbnb set an example for engaging equality efforts within the company and beyond – demonstrating how active listening can not only foster inclusion, but also adds business value.

 

Helpful Questions:

How many Employee Resource Groups do we have?

How often are departments reaching out to ERGs for advice or assistance?

How are we supporting the groups? (Time, money, resources, senior leadership support, visibility)

How are we using the ERGs to develop management and leadership skills of the members?


Ashley Miller is a Marketing Consultant for the Diversity Dashboard

The Diversity Dashboard is a project management software tool that provides diversity professionals with the ability to track their activity, measure their results, and report the ROI of their diversity programs. To find out more, get in touch.  

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