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Ready, Set, Go! Implementing Employee Resource Groups (Part 2)

April 11, 2014

In this second installment of our three-part series, D&I experts and longtime Linkage partners Erica Colonero and Robin Pedrelli share insights on implementing successful Employee Resource Groups. Click here to start reading from the beginning. —Ed.

Once the organizational “foundation” of your Employee Resource Group (ERG) program is in place, it’s time to focus on implementation. This is where the work shifts from the office of Diversity & Inclusion, down to the specific leaders who must illustrate the mission and strategy of their ERG and secure the appropriate budget. Some ERGs will be primarily social, with a focus on support and networking, while others may be tasked with driving talent, performance, profit or some combination of all three. We recommend that anyone who is a member or supporter of a represented group should join the appropriate ERG. It’s also important for ERG leaders and members to be able to test, stretch, and showcase their leadership and strategic capabilities since career development opportunities are a major benefit of ERG membership.

In some cases however, ERG leaders may lack a few particular skills they need to lead effectively, especially when it comes to strategy. This means that organizations must invest in their ERG leaders by providing adequate training and resources.

ERG leaders should also establish steering committees. They are a great way to build a succession plan for future leaders, to spread the workload and responsibility, and to actively engage more ERG members. A common complaint we’ve heard from many ERG leaders we’ve worked with is that the majority of the work is usually done by just a few key members. Since ERGs are typically not an official part of an ERG leader’s “day job,” sharing the workload is essential.

But with the right strategy and support, establishing ERGs are a great way for organizations to help increase worker engagement and the bottom line.

Are you an ERG member or does your organization need one? We want to hear from you! What ERG challenges have you and your organization overcome? What makes membership so worthwhile? What are some of the drawbacks? Share your insights in the comments box below.

Click here to view Erica and Robin’s webinar Ready, Set, Strategy: Aligning ERGs with Business Needs.

About Erica and Robin

Erica-RobinErica Colonero and Robin Pedrelli are longtime Linkage partners and founding members of VisionSpring, Inc., a diversity and inclusion consulting firm offering fully integrated strategy development, workforce planning, training, and continuous learning solutions to leverage diversity and inclusion as a driver of innovation and improved business outcomes.

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