Employee Resource Groups

The fundamental aim of an employee resource group is to support underrepresented employees in the workplace. To achieve this, ERGs foster diverse, inclusive, community-centric workplaces that provide personal and professional support to members.

Understanding employee resource groups

Employee resource groups (ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led teams whose objective is to create a diverse and inclusive workplace culture.

Those involved in employee resource groups tend to share common traits such as gender identity, religious affiliation, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, parental status, or some other demographic characteristic. ERGs can also be set up for employees in specific roles such as remote employees or working parents.

While ERGs work to represent those whose needs may be less accounted for in company policies, they are by no means exclusive.

Employee resource groups help underrepresented members connect with others in the organization, share their culture or values with others, and raise awareness around important issues.

Studies have also shown that the diversity ERGs advocate encourages radical innovation since employees feel more comfortable sharing ideas.

How to create an employee resource group

Here is a brief look at the steps required to create an ERG:

  1. Assess employee interest – before an organization commits to an ERG, it is important to determine whether there is sufficient employee interest to maintain one. Questionnaires or employee demographic data can be useful here.
  2. Obtain executive buy-in – ERG leaders must be able to explain the purpose of the group to executives and use data to prove there is sufficient need. They must also create a plan for how the ERG will be run to secure funding for activities.
  3. Define the ERG’s mission like a company mission statement, one or two sentences should clearly and concisely state the purpose of the ERG and why it matters.
  4. Recruit members – aside from obvious candidates, leaders must also decide whether the ERG will accept allies. These are members who do not identify with an underrepresented group but who are nonetheless passionate about diversity and inclusion.
  5. Host the first meeting – this is a good time to establish goals, decide on the causes the ERG will support and brainstorm ideas for activities or events. While there are no formal rules in an employee resource group, it can be prudent to nominate a leadership committee to manage the group – especially once it reaches a certain size.
  6. Maintain organizational support – to ensure the longevity of the ERG, it must have the continued financial support of senior management. Group leaders must be able to work collaboratively with their superiors to explain how the ERG is impacting the organization for the better.

Employee resource group examples

We will now conclude by mentioning three companies that utilize ERGs in the workplace:

  1. Hilton – with over 170 nationalities represented in its workforce, Hilton has nine employee resource groups which the company calls Team Member Resource Groups (TMRGs). Groups exist for various minorities and there is also support for military veterans and those with visible or invisible disabilities.
  2. AT&T – telecommunications company AT&T considers ERGs to be “the cultural lifeblood of our organization with 26 groups comprised of almost 89,000 members. Groups include Faith@Work to foster religious diversity and FACES, established in 1985 and otherwise known as the Filipino American Communications Employees. 
  3. HSBC – banking and financial services company HSBC utilizes ERGs to facilitate open discussion of workplace issues and create a culture that celebrates diversity. Examples include the Nurture group for caregivers and AHERG for those with African heritage.

Key takeaways:

  • Employee resource groups (ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led teams whose objective is to create a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. While ERGs work to better represent those who may not be accounted for in company policies, they are by no means exclusive.
  • To create and sustain an ERG, there must be sufficient employee interest and support from the organization. Once these points have been satisfied, the group should develop a mission statement, recruit members, and host meetings to discuss objectives and plan events or activities.
  • Some well-known companies that provide support for multiple ERGs include HSBC, Hilton, and AT&T. In addition to racial minorities, there are also groups for military veterans, caregivers, and religious diversity.

Read Next: OKRSMART Goals.

Related Management Concepts


Andy Grove, helped Intel become among the most valuable companies by 1997. In his years at Intel, he conceived a management and goal-setting system, called OKR, standing for “objectives and key results.” Venture capitalist and early investor in Google, John Doerr, systematized in the book “Measure What Matters.”

Smart Goals

A SMART goal is any goal with a carefully planned, concise, and trackable objective. To be such a goal needs to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. Bringing structure and trackability to goal setting increases the chances goals will be achieved, and it helps align the organization around those goals.


Micromanagement is about tightly controlling or observing employees’ work. Although this management style might be understood in some cases, especially for small-scale projects, generally speaking, micromanagement has a negative connotation mainly because it shows a lack of trust and freedom in the workplace, which leads to adverse outcomes.

Delegative Leadership

Developed by business consultants Kenneth Blanchard and Paul Hersey in the 1960s, delegative leadership is a leadership style where authority figures empower subordinates to exercise autonomy. For this reason, it is also called laissez-faire leadership. In some cases, this leadership type can lead to increased work quality and decision-making. In a few other cases, this type of leadership needs to be balanced out to prevent a lack of direction and cohesiveness in the team.

Agile Leadership

Agile leadership is the embodiment of agile manifesto principles by a manager or management team. Agile leadership impacts two important levels of a business. The structural level defines the roles, responsibilities, and key performance indicators. The behavioral level describes the actions leaders exhibit to others based on agile principles. 

Active Listening

Active listening is the process of listening attentively while someone speaks and displaying understanding through verbal and non-verbal techniques. Active listening is a fundamental part of good communication, fostering a positive connection and building trust between individuals.

Adaptive Leadership

Adaptive leadership is a model used by leaders to help individuals adapt to complex or rapidly changing environments. Adaptive leadership is defined by three core components (precious or expendable, experimentation and smart risks, disciplined assessment). Growth occurs when an organization discards ineffective ways of operating. Then, active leaders implement new initiatives and monitor their impact.

RASCI Matrix

A RASCI matrix is used to assign and then display the various roles and responsibilities in a project, service, or process. It is sometimes called a RASCI Responsibility Matrix. The RASCI matrix is essentially a project management tool that provides important clarification for organizations involved in complex projects.

Flat Organizational Structure

In a flat organizational structure, there is little to no middle management between employees and executives. Therefore it reduces the space between employees and executives to enable an effective communication flow within the organization, thus being faster and leaner.

Tactical Management

Tactical management involves choosing an appropriate course of action to achieve a strategic plan or objective. Therefore, tactical management comprises the set of daily operations that support long strategy delivery. It may involve risk management, regular meetings, conflict resolution, and problem-solving.

High-Performance Management

High-performance management involves the implementation of HR practices that are internally consistent and aligned with organizational strategy. Importantly, high-performance management is a continual process where several different but integrated activities create a performance management cycle. It is not a process that should be performed once a year and then hidden in a filing cabinet.

Scientific Management

Scientific Management Theory was created by Frederick Winslow Taylor in 1911 to encourage industrial companies to switch to mass production. With a background in mechanical engineering, he applied engineering principles to workplace productivity on the factory floor. Scientific Management Theory seeks to find the most efficient way to perform a workplace job.

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