Carbon Black is committed to investing in diversity and inclusion and views this as a critical source to our long-term success. To help us improve, drive change, and foster our people’s professional development, we found Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) can play a significant role in creating a better workplace. If you're an organization considering ways to enhance your company culture, consider ERGs.
What is an Employee Resource Group?
ERGs are employee-led, self-directed volunteer groups that investigate and share opportunities to network, foster mentoring and career development, and attract diverse talent.
Why are ERGs Important?
ERGs not only create inclusive communities where employees can feel supported, but they also enrich your overall company culture. Here are some things they can do:
Serve as champions for diversity and inclusion at your organization and help identify opportunities to become more inclusive.
Identify best practices and communicate broadly for others to consider using.
Benefit personally and professionally through networking, professional development, and learning opportunities.
Share knowledge, raise cultural awareness, and enhance your company’s cultural competence and links to the community.
Work as an employee support system, providing coaching, education, personal growth, best practices, and idea sharing.
Help with recruitment and retention efforts.
How Does it Work?
Internal employees sign up to serve as ERG leaders. These leaders will fully run and manage all events and communication for their ERG group, with support and guidance from your HR or Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) team. A D&I Project Manager (PM) will host quarterly check-ins to ensure progress is made toward initiatives and money is allocated efficiently.
How Can Your Company Support the ERGs?
You'll need to work with your finance team to determine an annual budget and share this with ERG leaders at the time the ERG is formed.
In establishing the ERG, you need to appoint someone who can manage the expenses for accounting purposes. They need to understand how to forecast and budget so expenses don’t exceed available funds.
Recommended Positions for ERGs
The following are the recommended positions when forming Employee Resource Groups. However, individuals can take on more than one role if interested or needed.
The overall lead for the ERG will manage the group and is responsible for communications, activities, and frequency of meetings. Groups will meet quarterly (in-person or virtually) at a minimum. This person will respond to employee inquiries that can be tied to the group’s mission.
As your ERG forms and grows, you may need to customize and add roles that align with your group.
This ERG member will be responsible for managing the annual budget. The bookkeeper is accountable for providing the accounting of their expenses to HR at quarterly check-ins.
ERG PR/Events Chair(s)
This ERG member will be responsible for managing the ERG’s communication channels.
For events, ERG groups can host internal and external discussions and events (depending on available resources). Should they chose to host, promote, or attend an event outside of your organization, have the ERG work with the D&I PM to ensure leadership and/or PR is aware of how and when your company’s logo and name will be utilized in a public-facing manner.
This is a member of your senior leadership team who is a supporter and advocate for the group, providing strategic guidance and serving as a liaison to other leaders within the ERG and HR. He/She acts as a mentor to the ERG Chair. This role is recommended for those ERG Chairs who have not managed a team or been part of a highly cross-functional team but is not required.
Employee Resource Groups are invaluable in an organization’s mission to become a more inclusive employer where all employees feel like they can bring their true self to work. Building these and supporting them will not only help your company culture, but they will also be a wonderful resource while improving diversity and inclusion.