How to Build an ERG That Supports Your People

Initiating an employee resource group (ERG) begins as an organic and grassroots initiative, where like-minded individuals form affinity groups to foster a sense of belonging. Establishing  it is easy. However, the challenge lies in ensuring the long-term sustainability of them. In this article, Recruitery will guide you through valuable insights on how to build an ERG that supports your people. 


What is an ERG?

Employee resource groups (ERGs), also known as affinity groups, are voluntary, identity-based communities created by employees within a company. ERGs serve various purposes, primarily providing a safe space for employees to connect and raise awareness about issues related to their identity or community. 

These groups often revolve around demographic characteristics like race, gender, sexuality, or ability, and they can also target specific roles, such as working parents or remote employees.

The Evolution of ERGs

ERGs have proliferated, with over 90% of Fortune 500 companies embracing them. These groups go by various names, including affinity groups, employee networks, and diversity councils. They are voluntary, identity-based communities created by and for employees.

ERGs take various forms, such as:

  • LGBTQIA+ network

  • Black women's network

  • Working parents network

  • Veterans support network

  • Mental Health Advocacy network

  • Community Impact network

  • Youth mentorship programs

Their primary goal is to foster a sense of belonging and cultivate trusting relationships in the workplace. However, ERGs are much more than mere support networks.

What benefits do ERGs bring to an organization?


ERGs benefit organizations in several ways. Beyond promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, ERGs offer numerous advantages that enhance the organization's overall strength. ERGs empower employees by enabling them to:

  • Expand their professional network and make new connections.

  • Advocate for positive change within the organization.

  • Foster personal and professional growth.

  • Share their unique cultural perspectives and values with colleagues.

  • Contribute to a more open and human workplace.

  • Engage in community outreach and social responsibility initiatives.

From a business standpoint, ERGs play a crucial role in talent attraction, employee development, community building, and the creation of a more inclusive organizational culture through education and awareness.

Creating an ERG: A Step-by-Step Guide

There are steps to create an ERG that you should follow: 

Step1: Assess Employee Enthusiasm

Before embarking on ERG creation, it's essential to determine the level of employee interest to ensure your efforts are meaningful. If your envisioned group is demographically focused, analyze employee demographic data to ascertain whether the potential member base is substantial enough to sustain an ERG. Alternatively, measure interest through methods like employee pulse surveys or inquiring during company-wide meetings.

Step 2: Gain Executive Support

After confirming employee interest in the ERG, it's vital to gain executive backing for its success. Present the group's purpose, substantiated by qualitative and quantitative employee data, at your next executive leadership meeting. 

Outline the ERG's operational plan, request budget allocation, and appoint an executive sponsor, ensuring continued support for the ERG's role in driving internal change.


Step 3: Establish the Group's Mission

Before launching your ERG, define a concise mission statement, one to two sentences, that articulates the group's purpose and significance. Though challenging, this mission statement serves as a guiding star for all group initiatives and should be publicly accessible on your company's intranet to ensure accountability among members.

Step 4: Recruit ERG Members

At this point, you must decide on allowing allies in the ERG, considering differing opinions. Once a decision is made, proceed to recruit members.

To start, promote the ERG in all-hands meetings and company newsletters. Host a kick-off event to build internal support and attract potential allies' attention. Reach out to employees with prior interest in similar groups, inviting them to join the ERG's leadership committee.

Step 5: Conduct a Meeting

Once your ERG is active, host your first meeting. Discuss your mission, set goals, choose causes to support, brainstorm company events, and share relevant content for engaging discussions. As the ERG grows, consider forming a leadership committee to ensure organized meetings and regularly introduce new perspectives.


Step 6: Monitor Outcomes

Once your team is operational, allow them time to launch their programs. At some point, you'll need to assess the actual value your programming provides to employees and whether it aligns with your company's business objectives. It’s suggested using existing survey and metric-tracking tools or considering customized ERG management tools.

Step 7: Sustain Organizational Support

While ERGs are employee-led, they still require organizational support. Collaborate with senior leaders to establish how the company will assist the group, its initiatives, and its members. This support can manifest in various forms, such as budget allocation for swag, event hosting, guest speakers, local community initiatives, or even compensation for ERG leaders, a growing trend.


If you've successfully completed the previous steps, take a moment to celebrate your achievements. However, remember that your ERG journey continues. Consider the frequency of refreshing your ERG structure. Recruitery hopes this article has provided you with valuable insights on how to build an ERG that supports your people.