What is an Employee Resource Group (ERG)?Article / Produced by TOW Project and Partners
An ERG, or Employee Resource Group, is an organization of similarly minded individuals who support one another through shared activity and growing relationships.
ERG members may be of one faith or many. They may work together at one company or network across multiple organizations. Their meetings might be tightly scheduled or they may flux and wane depending on the season.
The bottom line is that members of an ERG support one another and facilitate success for both individual members and for their wider organizations.
ERG = EMPLOYEE + RESOURCE + GROUP
If you want to know what an ERG is, you need look no further than the name: EMPLOYEE RESOURCE GROUP.
EMPLOYEES are individuals who work to accomplish the goals of a larger organization. While they may have some control over the job they take and the type of work they do, employees often do not choose the people they work with or their broader company culture. They spend their days around people they might not otherwise associate with, in a culture that may be foreign or hostile to them. For these reasons, employees have an incentive to connect with other people who share meaningful similarities and beliefs.
RESOURCES meet these employees' needs. When a city needs water it looks to its natural resources. When a company needs good workers it looks to its Human Resources. And when people need strength, encouragement or advice they look to their personal resources - the wealth of wisdom, faith, and positive relationships they have built up over time.
GROUPS are what happens when people come together. Something powerful happens when people come together to form a group. They are stronger in their numbers than the sum of their parts. Within a group, the powerless gain power and the voiceless find a voice. Individuals find fellowship and support. The lonely no longer feel alone.
In short, an employee resource group is a group of working people who help and support one another together as part of a larger whole. They may be in one organization or across many. They may represent one faith or multiple faiths. They may address societal ills, or meet the needs of their own members. The bottom line is that ERGs make people feel safer, more connected, and stronger than they would be on their own.