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  • Jordan Strate

The Power of Employee Resource Groups

Updated: Apr 8

Three workers smiling

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) have emerged as powerful tool for fostering Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in workplaces across Canada. These groups, also known as affinity groups or employee networks, provide spaces for employees with shared identities, experiences, or interests to come together, share insights, and advocate for positive change within their organizations. In this blog, we'll explore what it takes for employees to create ERGs and highlight some of the benefits they offer to organizations looking to strengthen their commitment to EDI.

Creating Employee Resource Groups: What You Need to Know

  • Identify a Common Interest or Shared Identity: ERGs are typically formed by people who share characteristics, experiences, or interests, such as ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, generational status, or hobbies. Employees interested in forming an ERG should identify a common thread that brings them together.

  • Build a Core Team: This team will play a crucial role in laying the foundation, setting goals, and organizing activities for the group. Building a core team of passionate and dedicated employees who are committed to advancing the objectives of the ERG is a key step.

  • Gain Leadership Support: Your group will need endorsement and support from organizational leadership. Leadership buy-in is vital for securing resources, fostering visibility, and integrating ERG initiatives into broader strategy.

  • Develop a Charter and Objectives: Define the mission, goals, and objectives of your ERG through a formal charter where you clarify the purpose of the group, its target audience, and the strategies it will employ to achieve its objectives.

  • Promote Inclusivity and Accessibility: Ensure that the ERG is inclusive and accessible to all employees who share the group's identity or interests. Encourage participation from individuals across different departments, levels, and backgrounds.

  • Establish Communication Channels: Create dedicated communication channels, such as email lists, online forums, or social media groups, to facilitate engagement, collaboration, and information sharing among ERG members.

The Benefits of ERGs for Organizations Struggling with EDI

  • Fostering a Sense of Belonging: ERGs create a sense of belonging and community for employees who may feel marginalized or underrepresented in the workplace. By providing a supportive network, quite simply ERGs help individuals feel valued, respected, and included.

  • Promoting Cultural Understanding and Awareness: ERGs contribute to the promotion of cultural understanding and awareness within organizations. Through education, ERGs help foster empathy, respect, and appreciation for diverse perspectives and experiences.

  • Driving Employee Engagement and Retention: Organizations that support ERGs often experience higher levels of employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention. ERGs provide opportunities for professional development, networking, and mentorship, which contribute to employee morale and loyalty.

  • Informing EDI Strategies and Policies: ERGs serve as valuable sources of feedback and insights for organizations seeking to enhance their EDI strategies and policies. By amplifying the voices of underrepresented groups, ERGs help identify systemic barriers, inequities, and opportunities for improvement within the organization.

  • Enhancing Organizational Reputation and Brand: Organizations that prioritize EDI and support ERGs are viewed more favorably by employees, customers, and stakeholders. Demonstrating a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion enhances the organization's reputation and strengthens its brand in the marketplace.

In conclusion, Employee Resource Groups play a pivotal role in advancing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion within organizations. By providing platforms for employees to connect, collaborate, and advocate for positive change, ERGs empower individuals to contribute to a more inclusive and equitable workplace culture. For organizations struggling with EDI, investing in ERGs can be a transformative step towards building a more diverse, inclusive, and thriving workforce.

All incidents and examples portrayed in this work are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, organizations, and products is intended or should be inferred.


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