More and more, we are finding that the top reasons someone accepts a role within an organization is because the organization gave them a sense of belonging, demonstrated they value diverse perspectives, and puts an emphasis on professional development. If you’ve come across a company that has an Employee Resource Group Program, then you are sure to find that these three values exist. Here’s why you should consider an organization that promotes and encourages their Employee Resource Group Program.
What are Employee Resource Groups?
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led groups whose aim is to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace by creating a safe space for employees who share a common identity to meet and support one another in building their community and sense of belonging. ERG’s are a great way to help in fostering an inclusive workplace.
They are led and participated in by employees who share a characteristic, whether it’s gender identity, ethnicity, religious affiliation, lifestyle, or interest. The groups’ purpose is to provide support and help in personal or career development, provide diverse perspective into an organization’s practices, products, and services, and to create a safe space where employees can bring their whole selves to the table.
The following video gives a quick overview of what an ERG is, and how it addresses the unique needs and issues of a diverse workforce:
Benefits of Joining an Organization with ERGs
There are many benefits to joining an organization that has Employee Resource Groups. First, you’ll find that companies with ERGs come with a built-in welcome committee. This is because ERGs create a sense of connection and belonging. To help you start, here are some best practices for ERG’s. Atrium’s ERG members are always there to help new employees get socially integrated within the first 90 days whether in-office or remote.
Have your Voice be Heard
In addition to belonging, joining an ERG allows you an opportunity to have your voice heard. ERGs strengthen this, amplifying minority voices and increasing the visibility of the groups. ERGs can act as informal, in-house focus groups involved throughout the process of practice improvement as well as product and service development. If you have an innovative idea, funneling can be easier through the channel of an ERG.
Employee Resource Groups are also an effective resource in professional development. ERGs are normally made up of employees across an organization at various departments and levels. Exposure to these colleagues outside of your day-to-day teams, allows a unique opportunity to learn from an executive, an intern, or a mid-level manager no matter what role you’re currently in. In addition, having the collaborative and supportive environment of an ERG opens the door employees to feel comfortable asking for career advice, learning new skills, and practicing leadership.
Finding a Sense of Purpose
In addition to the above benefits, you’ll also find a sense of purpose both within the organization and through external community outreach as many organizations encourage their ERGs to have community service initiatives. During your job search, don’t hesitate to ask your interviewer if their company has or is considering implementing Employee Resource Groups. If they do, ask if you can chat with a member of one to get a genuine feel of the organization and its direction.
Joining an Employee Resource Group and staying actively involved once you’ve joined a company, will keep you engaged, motivated and supercharge your professional development.