Diversity is important to most organizations, and company culture is consistently ranked as a top priority amongst job-seeking individuals, to the point where it is a big advantage in the corporate world to have an inclusive environment for employees. In fact, because work is where we spend so much of our time, it completely makes sense to want and to strive to be happy, respected, and understood at work. Because of this, ERG’s, or Employee Resource Groups, have become so popular amongst employees and crucial to take advantage of when working post-grad.
WHAT an ERG is:
If you haven’t heard the name Employee Resource Group, it’s because every company names their ERGs differently. You may have gone to a company’s recruitment event and learned about a mentorship program for women without realizing that it can be considered an ERG. An ERG is an employee-led group of people who either share a characteristic (such as gender, ethnicity, or specific life experience) or want to learn more about and support the ERG.
WHO can join:
While every company has different rules regarding ERGs and who can participate in them, the groups are usually made up of individuals who identify with the particular characteristic and/or allies. Many ERGs are focused on creating a space and making opportunities for minority groups, and individuals who are not part of said group are often still allowed (and encouraged!) to join and help out. It is usually highly recommended to employees to join at least one ERG.
WHY join an ERG:
Employees join ERGs for many reasons, such as having a community of like-minded people surrounding them or feeling more supported at their organization. However, ERG members also have exclusive benefits, such as exciting events or opportunities to network with upper management. Not to mention, many of these events are able to get prestigious speakers for their events, have mentorship programs that can develop you professionally and help you connect to different individuals on a deeper level, and overall are just as fun socially as they are beneficial professionally. There are endless possibilities when you join an ERG, and many ERG leadership teams or committees advocate for their members and bring the change that they would like to see within their company or organization, making them truly incredible.
Becoming involved in an Employee Resource Group may give members a chance to learn more and educate themselves on issues or inequalities in the world. Usually, joining an ERG or even just going to one meeting gives individuals a safe space to discuss ideas or come up with new solutions. In fact, this safe space can even give some people an opportunity to think of new, creative business solutions and bring even more value to their company. ERGs and ERG events can also transcend company work, as many Employee Resource Groups give back to their communities via volunteering events or financial contributions.
ERGs are key for a healthy company culture and happy employees. To hear two different opinions on whether ERGs are actually good for business, read this article.
Additionally, to better understand ERGs, read this article. To find out information on what ERGs a specific company offers membership in, do some research via the particular company’s website or search up the company’s name and “employee resource groups.”