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Employee Resource Groups Expand Corporate Culture, Inclusion, Engagement

An inclusive culture of belonging is paramount to the success of a company and its people. When employees feel included, heard, developed, and respected, they are more likely to perform better and stay with the company longer. An effective way to promote inclusion is developing employee resource groups (ERGs), or business resource groups (BRGs), which give employees a voice in an organization and provide employees with common backgrounds an opportunity to expand their leadership and development outside of their regular roles. These groups assist employees in developing professionally and growing fruitful careers because the roles interact with senior leadership. These groups also give employees opportunities to showcase their leadership skills for mentoring and future advancement opportunities as well as allowing them to feel heard and respected. 

What these groups are

Employee resource groups are approved by an organization and often include an executive sponsor. The employees select the group’s officers and create opportunities to inform and engage other employees through special events or sponsorships that support the company’s overall bottom line. They are essentially company ambassadors who share similar experiences and characteristics to discuss opportunities, challenges, and ideas as well as find support and community. Some examples may include groups formed based on ethnicity, gender, orientation, faiths, allyship, neurodiversity, veteran status, shared interests, and more.

How they help employees feel heard

Employee resource groups are a great way to help give voice to employee needs. Since these groups consist of employees who have similar backgrounds, employees often feel more comfortable being honest and open about their opinions or issues they may be facing. When employees have the support of a group behind them, they are more likely to voice these concerns or ideas to managers and leadership, which in turn leads to positive impacts overall.

The effectiveness of the groups

To make employee resource groups as successful as possible, some best practices include having effective communication, incorporating human resources, gaining support from senior leadership, and providing resources for learning and growth. Educational awareness to celebrate the value and contributions that the groups bring also activates employee engagement enterprise-wide, not limited to separate teams or groups.  Employee resource groups also offer a competitive advantage, as they are often a trusted source for employee referrals and onboarding assistance for recruitment and are attractive to job candidates.

The future of employee resource groups

As employee resource groups evolve, they are shifting to become business resource groups. These new groups are essentially employee resource groups, but they also share an aim of furthering business initiatives and goals. When it comes to the future of these groups, they may also begin including allies and not be limited to an affinity. Ultimately, the goal of the business resource groups is to give voice and visibility to shine while also making an impact on the business itself. As employee resource groups shift more toward business resource groups, there may also be opportunities for them to contribute to new concepts and even product and services development.

Uplifting employees of all backgrounds and empowering them to build trusting relationships by sharing their stories and experiences will not only lead to happier, fulfilled teams but will also contribute to the growth and success of your business. Employee resource groups are an effective way to accomplish this and signal that you value your employees opinions, experiences, and ideas.

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