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The case for ERG support in the workplace.

Employee resource groups (ERGs) have been around since the 1960s — but as companies turn their focus to DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) efforts, they’ve never been more relevant. ERG support can help organizations find unity and build positive business impact together.

At its core, an ERG is an official company network of employees who share interest in a specific characteristic. The most common kinds of ERGs focus on race, gender, national origin or sexual orientation. In some organizations, ERGs may go by a different name, including diversity councils, employee networks and affinity groups.

Uniting team members is only the beginning of what ERGs can achieve. What is the real impact of ERGs on an organization’s success?

The business impact of ERG support in the workplace.

Research overwhelmingly shows that ERGs can have a positive impact on an organization. Take a look at these key areas of improvement:

  • Improving recruitment: Studies show that 70% of U.S. professionals from 18 to 24 years old and 52% of professionals between 25 and 34 said they would be more likely to apply for a position in an organization that offered ERGs. Additionally, 50% percent of these professionals reported they would remain at an organization because it had an ERG. In a heated job market where employers are competing for new hires, this benefit can be crucial to getting top-tier professionals on your team.

  • Advancing DEI: Businesses around the nation are turning to ERGs to evolve diversity and inclusion outcomes. Tapping into these employee networks can help companies innovate effectively, better serve diverse markets and learn how to create a sense of belonging for the entire workforce.

  • Delivering business results: Almost 90% of organizations on the Fortune 500 list offer ERGs of some kind. From employee satisfaction to customer satisfaction, ERGs can be effective across the board.

  • Fostering positivity: Studies show ERG leaders are more positive about their companies overall. In fact, the majority of ERG leaders believe their organizations are taking action to create a better community for all. ERGs can help professionals feel heard and supported in the workplace.

  • Bolstering cross-department collaboration: Connecting through ERGs can unite employees who otherwise may never have connected. As ERGs help bring professionals together across fields of practice, the groundwork is laid for cross-department collaboration. You never know what kind of innovation might arise when employees from accounting and graphic design, or development and human resources, combine their talents — and this kind of collaboration can be priceless for an organization.

The employee impact of ERG support in the workplace.

ERGs are made for employees. So how do these networks impact the people they’re made to empower? We’ve identified four key areas in which ERG support transforms the employee experience.

  • Bolstering belonging: Organizations at the forefront of DEI efforts are recognizing a fourth feature that’s just as significant as diversity, equity and inclusion — belonging. ERGs show team members how much their organization values their presence, which can have a positive ripple effect on employee retention, job satisfaction and much more.

  • Improving access to mentorship: ERGs offer mentorship opportunities that employees might not have easily accessed before. Research continuously shows that although mentors continue to impact careers over time, men’s mentors are more senior, which results in more promotions and greater compensation. ERGs offer both formal and informal opportunities to increase mentorship and foster professional development.

  • Providing continual education: The chance to find professional growth is substantial with an ERG. Many ERGs bring team members together surrounding professional development topics, like advocating for yourself in the workplace or goal setting. Through professional training, informal information sharing, educational workshops and inclusive events, ERGs provide knowledge and growth to help employees succeed.

  • Developing allies: With leader-supported ERGs open to all employees, organizations create another pathway to develop allyship. In these networks, employees get the chance to grow in empathy, build trust and increase transparency. ERGs bring professionals together and foster unified support while celebrating diversity.

ERGs can have a phenomenal impact on an organization’s success. With increased collaboration, companies enjoy more ideas, more solutions and inclusive perspectives. ERG support in the workplace can ensure that professionals feel heard, encouraged and appreciated.

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