Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

The purpose of employee resource groups in the workplace

Employee resource groups or ERGs play a massive role in the company culture of many medium- to large-sized organizations. Over the last year, several large companies like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Justworks have decided to pay ERG leaders additional salaries. You may be wondering about the purpose of employee resource groups, so we’re here today to share why these company groups are so vital.

What Is an Employee Resource Group?

An employee resource group (also called an employee affinity group) is a collection of employees who support and learn from each other. These groups form for different minority groups to come together and connect about workplace issues.

You may see ERGs form to support women, people of color, people with disabilities, working parents, LGBTQIA employees, and so much more. As your company grows, your ERGs can become more diverse and helpful to your employees.

What Is the Purpose of Employee Resource Groups?

ERGs provide so much to the modern workplace. Let’s go through a list of how these groups contribute to companies across the world.

ERGs Provide a Sense of Community for Employees

As your team grows, it can become difficult for new employees to feel connected to your organization.

Did you know that 40% of workers say they feel isolated at work? In companies without ERGs, boosting this number can fall squarely on HR and people managers. 

Companies with ERGs can use these groups as resources. HR leaders can help connect employees who feel disconnected by encouraging them to join ERGs that fit their needs.

In the end, you could reap some amazing belongingness benefits, like a 167% increase in your employee Net Promoter Score.

ERGs Encourage Cross-Departmental Relationship Building

When you are building a large company, silos between departments are bound to form. Marketing will hang out with marketing, sales with sales, and so on down the line. It’s much easier to make friends with someone who understands what you do and speaks the same language. Departmental silos aren’t great for organizations that need each department to communicate seamlessly to get work done.

Employee resource groups are department neutral. It’s all about bringing people together, no matter their background. So, for example, your marketing personnel will end up with friends across the company.

The next time you have a huge project that requires employees from different departments, members of your ERGs will be excited to team up with work friends they probably don’t get to see daily.

ERGs Help Your Employees Feel Heard and Valued

Employee resource groups are a fantastic source of information. Your employees might feel small or lost in the crowd. ERGs create smaller sections of your company where more voices can be heard.

You can:

  • Survey your ERGs for suggestions
  • Hold town halls
  • Have productive meetings with ERG leaders on changes you can make to improve their experience

If you engage your ERGs and show them you value their opinions, you can get a lot done while showing employees across the company how much you appreciate them. You won’t have time to do this on a one-to-one basis, so employee affinity groups help you do this efficiently.

ERGs Can Help You and Your Team Solve Problems Quickly

Once employees feel united and confident in what they need at work, they can help you solve ERG-related issues more quickly.

For example, maybe the parents in your organization feel like they constantly have to choose between going home to be with their families and advancing their careers due to the number of after-work activities your company runs.

In a world without ERGs, parents might have silently thought about this or even shared it with a work friend. Silos of working parents at your organization might have discussed this issue, but they wouldn’t have done anything significant with the information.

This lack of organization might have led some of your best employees to seek work at other companies or stew in their resentment about their lack of career advancement.

The scenario we shared is not unimaginable. According to Pew Research, 27% of working parents shared that being a mother or father stopped them from advancing in their careers.

So, what happens with an employee resource group? Working parents would be able to come together and share their thoughts about how being a parent has affected their job. At the very least, they would feel less alone. Plus, they may even be able to come to HR and suggest changing some of the policies for after-work activities.

Employee affinity groups give your employees more power. Some organization leaders may fear this ability to connect and organize. Innovative organizations realize that ERGs give you the opportunity to fix workplace issues before they spiral into resentment or turnover. Giving up a bit of power is priceless when you recognize the effect these groups can have on retention and engagement.

ERGs Help You Hold Events That Bring Your Company Together

Workplace events can be challenging to plan, especially if you put all of the events on your company’s HR leader or event planner. Employee resource groups can help you plan events to celebrate Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and PRIDE Month

If you want to plan educational and fun events for these months or holidays anyway, why not give the budget to ERGs to help you plan and create these events? It’s the perfect way to let ERG members know that you value them and their experiences at your company.

There Is a Significant Purpose Behind Employee Resource Groups

There is a reason that organizations like LinkedIn are finding value in employee resource groups. These groups can drive employee engagement and provide a sense of belonging that many companies are missing.

As your organization grows its employee database, think about ways that you can bring your employees together and help build diversity and inclusion within your company.

Are you looking to leverage the power of employee resource groups at your organization? Look no further than Workrowd. If you want to empower ERG leaders with shared learning, you can check out the Global ERG Network. Connect with us at to see if we’re right for your organization.

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