Employee Resource Groups: Leadership Development, Diversity & Inclusion, and the Channel to an Engaged Workforce

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) have received a tremendous amount of attention in Diversity and Inclusion, Human Resources, and Leadership Development related articles, research, and practices over recent years.  Also called Diversity Business Networks (DBNs), Affinity Groups and Business Resource Groups, these groups serve as a tremendous means of employee engagement, mentoring, talent retention, organization business strategy, focus to client needs, building diversity, and respect.

In the coming weeks we will explore the resources these groups provide to both the employees (of this and the next generations’ leaders) and the organization (across silos), and the pathway it is creating from Diversity to the next phase, Inclusion.  First though, we must start with some fundamentals:

What are ERGs?

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are comprised of employees who are linked by social factors such as culture, gender, sexual orientation, or by a common interest or goal within an organization.

The characteristics of these networks typically also include serving as a resource to other employees and the larger organization, and being inclusive and open to all employees.

What is the Organizational role of Employee Resource Groups?

High performing employee resource networks contribute to achieving the company’s business goals and results.  Examples:

  • Support company’s diversity vision and contribute to business results
  • Internal consultant – how to market and sell to their communities
  • Assist in recruiting and retaining a diverse work force
  • Promote professional development and advancement of its members
  • Provide a more honest / realistic perspective than most outside focus groups

What are some of the values for joining or having an ERG at your company?

  • Employee Resource Groups “get” the customers and the diverse talent you want to attract; they help further develop client relationships, through ERG (social) events
  • Creating collaborative opportunities with similar ERGs at other non-competing companies, thus tapping into best practices resources
  • Serving as mentoring circles, helping bridge cultural gaps, building the careers of those getting started in the field/company – “navigating the company’s cultural landscape”
  • Building / improving an understanding of the workplace / corporate environment expectations, without giving up one’s cultural identity – “not checking who you are at the door”

Michael J. Negrón, MBA
Managing Director
NEGRON Consulting
Consultant · Coach · Facilitator
Trainer · Speaker
The Octagon COACHING Model

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