Employee Resource Groups
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Employee Resource Groups
At Emporia State University, we value the diverse perspectives that make up our college community. Based on feedback through the 2018 Climate Survey, focus groups conducted by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and other feedback mechanisms, our community members have expressed the desire to cultivate a sense of belonging and engage in decisions that affect ESU’s community. In alignment with our strategic plan’s goal to become a model for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and in order to facilitate more opportunities for communication, connection, and support among our faculty and staff, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, in partnership with Human Resources, will be facilitating the creation of Employee Resource Groups.
What are Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)?
Employee Resource Groups aim to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace. The groups exist to provide holistic, community-based support and help in personal or career development while creating a safe space where employees can bring their whole selves to the table. ERGs provide a forum in which members of an organization who share common interests, identities, backgrounds, or experiences.
The first employee resource groups were initially workplace affinity groups created in response to racial strife of the civil rights era. Joseph Wilson, the former CEO of Xerox, and his African American employees designed and launched the National Black Employees Caucus in 1970 to address racial tension and the issue of workplace discrimination. According to a report from Bentley University, nearly 90% of all Fortune 500 companies have ERGs.
The Impact of ERGs
ERGs provide a forum for campus members to share concerns, find community, and offer a supportive environment. However, as ERGs have evolved, they have also been shown to impact retention, recruitment, mentoring, leadership development, and a resource for students and potential students. According to a report by the Society for Human Resource Management, 90% of companies who participated said ERGs helped make new hires more comfortable during the onboarding process, and 70% relied on ERGs to build a workforce to reflect the demographics of the populations they served.
Benefits of ERGs
- Creates open communication for employees who share common identities or experiences to be in community with one another and offer support while building a sense of belonging
- Advance a diverse and inclusive campus culture while reinforcing the importance of inclusion
- Empower groups through financial support, organizational support, and access to university leadership
- Create a clear line of communication from members of the ERGs to leadership to voice concerns and lend a critical lens to policies, community issues, and community needs
- Provide a social space for staff and faculty to connect and network
- Offer interested faculty and staff the opportunity to strengthen our campus community through dialogue, professional development, education, and community building
ERGs can be built around a range of personal or professional interests and affiliations including military veterans, women of color, the LGBTQ+ community, working parents, and more. Each groups needs and goals may be different in scope. Therefore, the structure given to these groups is minimal and is put into place to ensure the ERGs are able to achieve their goals with the support of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Human Resources. The ERG program is driven by ESU’s core values of excellence, respect, responsibility, and service.
- ERGs commit to meeting at least twice a semester
- Coordinators commit to meeting with the Interim Senior Director of Diversity once a semester and serve as a liaison to the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Coordinators will collectively meet once a semester to encourage collaboration and communication among the groups
- Each ERG will define the group’s individual mission, goals, membership expectations, and budget requests. These missions and goals should demonstrate thoughtful connection to the core values and meaningful ways the group will enhance campus life for both its members and ESU’s community as a whole
We recognize that potentially many of these groups will represent historically excluded and marginalized populations on campus. Our offices also understand that these community members are often tasked with completing extra labor in order to support other staff and faculty, as well as students, within these populations. Therefore, those who choose to serve as a coordinator for an ERG will be provided with a small stipend as recognition of their time and labor in supporting our efforts to become a model for diversity, equity, and inclusion.