It’s been a while since we posted an update about the Global ERG Network here, and with a jam-packed new cohort launching soon, we figured it was probably time to change that. For those of you who are new to the Workrowd world, the Global ERG Network is a cross-company community of diversity, equity, and inclusion champions working to drive measurable change within their organizations. Oriented around employee-led collectives including employee resource groups, business resource groups, diversity councils, and sub-committees, the Global ERG Network, or GEN as we call it, provides 24/7 networking and knowledge sharing with peers alongside best practice templates and toolkits, monthly educational events, and much more.
We’ve got our largest group of new members yet coming onboard in just a few weeks so there’s still time to get involved. While we do have the option for new members to sign up at any time, joining this new cohort will mean you and your resource group and council members can hit the ground running with all of the onboarding activities we have in store. You’ll be in good company with fellow members including Philip Morris International, Experian, and more. If you don’t want to get left behind on diversity, equity, and inclusion this year, read on to learn more about this growing movement and check out the tips we’ve included at the end to supercharge your resource groups regardless of whether you decide to join GEN.
Why outside support for employee resource groups is so important
The superheroes who lead and support resource groups and councils typically do so on a volunteer basis on top of their primary job responsibilities. They toil off-hours, on nights and weekends, rushing to squeeze prep work in between back-to-back meetings, and generally put in a lot of time that goes unacknowledged by the company. This of course presents a number of issues, including being overlooked for promotions due to having commitments external to their role, and being at significantly higher risk of burnout. Through our conversations with DEI champions across the globe, we’ve learned that the average tenure for resource group and council leaders is just 1-2 years.
Add on top of this the fact that underrepresented employees are already saddled with an additional ‘emotional tax’ in the workplace, and it’s easy to understand why providing support for resource group leaders should be top of mind. A Bloomberg article from last month defines this ‘tax’ as “the heightened experience of being treated differently from peers due to race/ethnicity or gender, triggering adverse effects on health and feelings of isolation and making it difficult to thrive at work.” A Catalyst survey found that 3 out of 5 men and women of color have experienced this burden. Black employees and employees with multiple intersecting identities are especially at risk of suffering from this emotional tax. Combining the increased workload mentioned above with the emotional tax, othering, microaggressions, and general bias that employees from underrepresented backgrounds experience makes the need for the Global ERG Network all the more urgent.
How the Global ERG Network is helping companies better support resource groups
Knowing the toll that running an employee resource group or similar effort takes on employees, we knew we wanted to do something to help. We had a number of companies ask us for help in starting employee resource groups early on in Workrowd’s history, and since we didn’t have the expertise for that we set out to find people who did. In the course of our search, we found an organization similarly looking to help companies supercharge their resource groups. We decided to team up, with Workrowd covering the technology side, and our partner bringing their diversity, equity, and inclusion expertise. Together, we launched the Global ERG Network earlier this year.
Based on our market research with DEI leaders, resource group leaders and members, HR professionals, executives, and other stakeholders, we’ve equipped the Global ERG Network with the following features:
- Best practice templates and toolkits. Today, most resource group and council leaders are effectively stuck reinventing the wheel when they want to do something. They have to search around on the web for activity ideas, recreate documents that their predecessors made but may not have saved properly, and try to stay up on language and law changes as well. They have to do all of this in a very limited timeframe as we explained above, so it only made sense to build a central repository of resources for them to refer to and draw upon.
- Monthly webinars and activities. GEN is not just for group and council leaders, though; it’s for everyone involved in employee resource groups in their various forms. Accordingly, we’ve got monthly webinars and activities to keep all members engaged and learning. Spanning career development, DEI and ERG-specific topics, and more, these sessions are designed to provide additional, specialized support for employees from underrepresented backgrounds that they may not be receiving through their companies.
- 24/7 networking and knowledge sharing. The experience of being in a minority group in your workplace can be a draining and isolating one. This is especially true when you’re dealing with a problem and you’re not sure any of your coworkers will understand. Luckily, GEN is here to help on that front as well, connecting individuals across companies so that at any time, members can pose questions to the collective brain trust. Particularly after a year that was so challenging in so many ways, having access to a focused community of peers can be a big help.
- Analytics dashboards for administrators. For some reason, there’s still debate over whether investing in DEI delivers value to the business. Anyone involved with resource groups and councils is hopefully well beyond the point of asking that question, but as long as there are doubters, DEI leaders will be asked to demonstrate the ROI of their work. For those situations, we give you on-demand analytics dashboards that show members’ usage alongside metrics like engagement and employee Net Promoter Score. Want a clear-cut investment that will show you the value being delivered? GEN’s your buy.
- On-call support. If we have learned anything from the box-ticking efforts of the preceding decades, it’s that a one-size-fits-all approach to DEI doesn’t work. While we are doing our best to build up a flexible repository of materials to support a wide variety of organizations and situations, we know that there will inevitably be things we didn’t cover. For those instances, we have easily locatable request buttons for users to let us know what resources they need and events they would like to see. This makes GEN akin to a concierge service for your ERGs, BRGs, diversity councils, and sub-committees, and ensures that the value of the community continues to increase and evolve well into the future.
GEN is a dynamic, first-of-its-kind community dedicated to helping every company move forward on diversity, equity, and inclusion faster by connecting internal DEI champions to a vast ecosystem of resources and support. New companies are reaching out to join every week, so if you want to establish your organization as a DEI leader and ensure your employees from underrepresented backgrounds have what they need to succeed, there’s no time to waste. Visit us at globalergnet.com, or reach out directly to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more today.