Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) play an important role in building cultures of Inclusion. ERGs support employees with personal and career development, resources, and can help build as well as influence corporate diversity, equity and Inclusion programs. Through their work, they can encourage employee engagement, offer a safe space for trusting relationships, increase retention and educate your employee population on ways they can support, advance and elevate their work. However, because more often than not, most employees that are ERG leaders, they can often suffer from burnout. Especially those founding or pioneering the group.
Often ERG leaders are passionate about this work, and companies will not provide them with enough resources to produce results, therefore you will find ERG leaders scraping for speakers, having to work extra hours to figure out ways to launch their group. What we have noticed too, is that often these leaders that are volunteering already have a heavy workload, and they suddenly find themselves in situations where no support is being handed to them.
The result of not having any framework, resources and ally’s is a recipe for disaster, it will do more harm than good not only to the ERG leaders but to the culture of the organization.
While every organization is different, we wanted to share things that your organization can do to ensure sustainable success for ERG leaders and their members:
Executive Support and Sponsorship
Most ERG leaders now a days will have an executive sponsor that will support the efforts of their group with resources. However, true sponsorship goes beyond resources, this means that the sponsor attends their kick-off events, promote their initiatives internally (and if approved) externally. This sponsor also contributes with content and has visible and vocal allyship. The sponsor also ensures that the ERG leader has visibility and direct engagement with the executive team, this ensuring that the initiatives are also aligned.
These groups are often started by a group of people that are passionate. These individuals have many ideas and often very high expectations to what they want to produce and achieve. If there isn’t someone within the organization supporting and mentoring their efforts, they could easily reach burnout from trying to reach their expectations, or can be setup for failure. It is important that they have access to a company like ours, we are a one stop shop for employee resources group to support and produce their events, campaigns or big bold ideas. We create a safe space for them, we visualize and draft their ideas, and support them with sourcing speakers, copyright, graphic design and day of production. It’s essentially an all in one package, allowing for the ERG leaders to feel supported and to be successful in their work.
We often find that when we work and act as a partner for ERGs, the group will be inspired, energized and focused on their part, which is coming up with the vision. Unless organizations hire people to lead this groups fulltime, there must be frameworks, systems and organizations like us in place for these groups to thrive.
Don’t wait for your ERG leaders to burnout, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information in ways we can support produce these experiences.