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17.10.2022 Company culture

The top 5 benefits of employee resource groups (and how you can encourage them!)

The top 5 benefits of employee resource groups (and how you can encourage them!)

Employee resource groups have a whole heap of benefits for both employers and employees. Find out what their benefits are and how you can encourage them here.

An employee resource group (ERG) is a group of employees who belong to one, or more, marginalised groups. They work together, usually on a voluntary basis, to increase visibility and working conditions for their minority group within the workplace.

For more information on what an ERG is, check out our employee resource group glossary article

ERG glossary

But, the benefits of employee resource groups don’t stop there. Having at least one active ERG in your business can boost employee experience, employee retention, and team performance, and improve employer branding. This, of course, all has an excellent impact on recruitment!

Below, we’ll explore in-depth the benefits of employee resource groups and give you some tips on encouraging ERGs within your business.

The top 5 employee resource group benefits

The benefits of employee resource groups are countless, and while they’re an extremely valuable asset for employees, these benefits extend to employers too. Below are some of the most valuable ERG benefits for employers.

1. Make more well-informed decisions

One of the greatest improvements you’ll see within your business when an employee resource group is in place is stronger, well-thought-out decisions.

Your team’s opinion should already be taken into consideration before making any big, strategic decisions. Running proposed changes past your employees and workshopping any decisions according to those they will impact will ensure there are no nasty consequences that management may have missed. It will also make transitioning into the new way of working easier and reduce as much disruption as possible, with employees already knowing what to expect.

However, having an ERG within the company takes these informed decisions to the next level. It can be too easy for the voice of minority groups to fly under the radar when running strategic decisions by the entire workforce. So, having an ERG in place which amplifies marginalised voices and allows them a channel to speak their thoughts clearly is a great way to avoid this common occurrence.

Further benefits of having this type of employee representation are that you open the floor to individuals who may have been in similar situations before. Having a group of employees, each with different experiences and backgrounds, will mean that you have access to a variety of voices who may have first-hand experience with the goals you’re trying to reach. They can then help to streamline processes and help you avoid potential pitfalls.

2. Increased employer branding

Employer branding is one of the most important factors for any business to consider, but especially for businesses that are aiming to increase headcount and grow.

Glassdoor reported that 50% of candidates would not work for a company with a bad reputation. Pair this with the fact that 92% of people would leave their job if offered a position within a company with an excellent reputation, and the importance of employer branding becomes even more clear.

So, it is great to know that having an employee resource group on board can greatly improve employer branding. An active ERG looks great listed on your careers page or as an employee benefit, and helps you to compete with larger companies. You only need to look at employee resource group statistics to verify this, with around 90% of Fortune 500 companies having an ERG in place!

Not only this, but many employee resource groups work or volunteer with external communities. This could be to complete volunteer work, provide career opportunities to further members of the community, or simply network with external stakeholders. The result? Increased brand awareness regarding your business, and if done right, your employer branding will be improved. We’ll touch more on this later.

3. Increased success with diversity recruiting strategy

Another reason why employee resource groups are so important is that they truly benefit a diversity recruiting strategy.

As we mentioned previously, having an ERG listed on your careers site, in a job advertisement, or elsewhere as an employee benefit can increase applicants’ trust in your business. This is especially true for employees from marginalised groups. Seeing that a business supports and amplifies the voices of minorities can be a huge confidence boost for these individuals.

Alongside this, employees already in these ERG groups are likely to have connections with other marginalised groups. So, if these individuals feel supported, appreciated, and heard by their company, they are likely to recommend it as a great place to work. This can help to attract not only more diverse talent but also passive candidates too!

4. Better workplace culture

If your team members are feeling undervalued, as though their opinions aren’t heard, or as though they don’t ‘fit in’ with their colleagues, this can quickly lead to them becoming disengaged employees.

While a disengaged employee is an issue in itself, having a member of the team who is feeling disconnected can have a knock-on effect on other employees. This can happen in a number of ways, whether it is an employee giving their colleagues negative feedback or passing their workload onto their teammates (which can result in overworking).

An employee resource group can be used to combat this, as it gives individuals a forum to air any problems, blockers, or frustrations or provide any other comments. As well as this, they can receive help from colleagues in similar positions or with similar backgrounds.

As well as improved feedback culture, ERGs provide an excellent way for wider teams to bond. These groups can give individuals the chance to socialise with colleagues outside their direct teams or even to improve remote collaborations in a remote-first or hybrid company, as they provide employees with more connections.

5. Improved employee retention

Anyone who has worked in recruitment or Human Resources will be able to confirm the importance of employee retention.

And, as we’ve mentioned, one of the benefits of an employee resource group is increased employee retention! This is for many reasons, the past four points in this article being just a few of them.

Having an ERG in place is a great way to ensure employees feel respected, valued, and connected to a community. It also gives them a direct way to provide their employer with feedback and suggestions. All this helps with an improved relationship between an employee and the business they work for, which in turn improves employee retention rates.

How can I support employee resource groups within my business?

So, now you know why you should be excited about having an ERG within your business, you might be wondering if and how you can support one. The good news is that you certainly can! Doing the three things listed below can nurture an employee resource group, as well as increase awareness within your team about the ERG.

1. Advertise your ERGs

The more people within your ERG, the better feedback you’ll receive from the group. While it may not be possible within a smaller business to round up dozens of members for these groups, you can certainly play a part in increasing these numbers.

Not only will advertising your ERG potentially recruit new talent to the group, but it will show the existing members you cherish and value their work and their cause.

Advertising an ERG can be as simple as sending out a company-wide email or message with some details about the group, or can stretch to posting banners or flyers for them within the office.

2. Provide funding for your ERG

One of the greatest things you can do for an ERG is to provide them with a budget for their cause.

This budget can be used for anything from volunteering or fundraising for a charity or group of their choosing to throwing social events to help build connections within the group. The budget doesn’t have to be huge. It can be whatever your company can afford, but providing this support will both show your ERG you value them and give them the means to grow.

Of course, if your company has more than one ERG in place, this budget should be split between the groups so as not to favour one cause over another.

3. Get things started

Finally, if your company doesn’t already have an ERG in place, you could always be the one to get things started!

This can be done by setting the group up yourself, including recruiting members and setting up meetings, or by providing some initial training to your employees on how to set up an ERG. Showing this initiative to support marginalised groups will not only make it clear to your team that you care, but will provide them with a direct method of contact and communication with you.

Employee resource groups as part of a wider company culture strategy

While employee resource groups have many benefits and are for sure a powerful tool to improving the culture within a company, they are by no means a one-time fix. ERGs should be used among other company culture techniques to ensure employees feel supported and valued within your business.

Want to know what else you can do to support this? The following articles can help:

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