One of the primary struggles for diverse employees is finding a comfortable place to learn, grow, and connect to others in the workplace. Companies that do not offer employees opportunities to do all three often cannot attract diverse candidates. Many companies have embraced Employee Resource Groups, or ERGs, as a solution to meet diverse employees’ desire for development and community. However, even companies with ERGs in place can struggle to attract or retain diverse employees.
Typically this comes down to a lack of structure, funding, or executive support. So, companies with no ERGs find that their diverse employees lack opportunity, and companies with ERGs in place often overlook the specific needs of those resource groups. Both problems result in a low retention rate for diverse employees.
Read on to learn the 3 best practices your company can do now to retain diverse talent through creating ERGs!
Why Creating ERGs is Beneficial for Your Organization
Employee Resource Groups are an effective tool to provide community and offer leadership opportunities to diverse employees.
ERGs are an “open forum” of sorts, where diverse employees can express their needs or concerns in a way that can make real change in a company.
Further, employees involved in ERGs have the opportunity to connect with like-minded coworkers to create a more inclusive environment in the workplace as well as enhance their own work experience.
Employees who are comfortable and included are better contributors, which improves diverse company input and innovation as a whole! Companies with healthy ERGs in place can expect higher retention rates of diverse employees as well as a more inclusive work culture
Best Practices for Solving the Problem
#1 Create a structure for ERGs.
A program without structure will encounter unnecessary stress or even failure, and ERGs are no exception.
When establishing ERGs, decide in advance how leaders will be selected within each resource group, how the groups will be funded, and how the groups will remain in sync with overall company goals.
Seek to keep similar structures in place for each ERG within the company. When leaders are selected for ERGs, make sure they are familiar with the structure as well.
#2 Remove obstacles to the success of ERGs.
Sometimes companies establish ERGs only to see them fizzle out over a period of months or years. When this happens, often the culprit is a lack of employee time.
When employees are expected to add ERG activities and responsibilities on top of their current work tasks – not to mention their personal responsibilities – many conclude that being a part of an ERG is not possible due to a lack of time. One way to remedy this is to allow ERG activities to take place during work hours.
A second reason that some ERGs fail to thrive is a lack of financial support. ERG leaders work hard, but typically their efforts are in a volunteer capacity. Because Employee Resource Groups improve the company as a whole, it would be beneficial to consider providing some compensation to ERG leaders. Compensation demonstrates the company’s dedication to ERGs as well as acknowledges the value of ERGs in a tangible way.
#3 Encourage ERGs from the executive level.
An Employee Resource Group cannot succeed long-term without the support of the company’s executive leadership team. Leaders can encourage ERGs in a variety of ways.
First, it is imperative that executive team members talk about ERGs with new hires. Let new hires know what groups are available, and introduce them to ERG leaders or members that they might connect with.
Second, since funding is crucial to the life of ERGs, the executive team can further encourage ERGs by offering financial support. Allocate a portion of the monthly budget to go to ERGs, or seek out sponsors.
No matter how the funding happens, it lets employees know that the executive leaders of the company are fully on board with Employee Resource Groups.
In order to create an inclusive and diverse workplace, it’s essential that you create an inclusive environment with ERGs. Our guide, “Retaining Diverse Talent: Creating ERGs”, will walk you through the process of how to do just that. It’s easy to do, and you can get started today! So what are you waiting for? Download our Guide today! Happy recruiting!