What are Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and Equity Focused Committees?
I have been part of many equity-focused committees and that involvement eventually sparked my passion for human rights and equity-related issues which led to a career in the equity space. Throughout my time on committees, these are some best practices for developing and creating these groups in your workplace.
● Understand the equity-related policies/procedures in your organization to be able to make suggestions for change with an equity-minded group.
● Call out inappropriate language and behaviours
● Let Employee resource groups (ERGs) and equity-focused committees be a source of leadership in the workplace to champion equity-related issues.
Establishing employee resource groups (ERGs) and equity-focused committees support the growth of employees and their workplaces. These groups create awareness of societal and equity-related issues that can have an impact on policies and procedures in the workplace. Contributing to these groups gives employees an active role in creating an inclusive environment they can be proud of.
Employee resource groups (ERGs) provide an opportunity for increased employee engagement in which co-workers of a mutual demographic and allies meet regularly to bond over shared experiences. These groups also provide an opportunity to show solidarity through allyship. ERGs may connect employees of similar ethnicities, sexual orientations, faiths, disabilities, and more. These affinity groups aim to provide peers with a safer space, enhance employee well-being, and foster a sense of community creating a more inclusive workplace. Equity-focused Committees are groups within organizations that support inclusion, diversity, equity, belonging and accessibility-related priorities. These committees make recommendations to various departments within their workplaces to ensure relevant equity-related and societal issues are brought forward to create positive working environments.
What are the Benefits of these Groups?
Many organizations have started to develop employee resource groups (ERGs) and equity-focused committees to involve their employees in supporting inclusion, diversity, equity, belonging and accessibility related priorities to foster a sense of community and inclusion within their workplaces. Some benefits of these groups include:
1. Professional growth: These groups can foster professional development and can strengthen the work environment by providing employees with webinars, mentorship, coaching and other opportunities to enhance employee growth and satisfaction
2. Employee retention: ERGs and equity-focused committees improve the employee experience by giving people a chance to contribute to equity-related initiatives that matter to them, leading to stronger ties among employees and higher employee retention rates.
3. Flexibility with hybrid models and work from home arrangements creates increased accessibility: With teams working remotely or from a hybrid model from anywhere in the world, workplaces are becoming more accessible allowing more people with disabilities to be more successful within the workplace. These models are creating more flexibility and accommodation which allows disabled employees to build a workspace and work schedule that fits their needs.