5 Tips for Creating and Managing Successful ERGs

August 15, 2022

As more companies recognize a need for investment in DEI practices, ERGs, or Employee Resource Groups have grown in popularity as a strategy. ERGs can serve a variety of purposes but are generally made up of employees who share a characteristic or facet of their identity, such as gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity. These are volunteer based and employee-run groups that work to foster inclusivity and belonging in the workplace. ERGs can be found in 90% of Fortune 500 companies.

So whether your company is working to develop your first ERG or if you are looking for strategies to improve and optimize your existing program, read on for some tips on how to build and run ERGs that will support your organization and employees for the long term. 

1. Getting started the right way

The first step for creating successful ERGs is understanding what groups are needed and useful for your company. Setting up a meeting (or series of meetings, depending on the size of your organization) with HR and other culture leaders leading an open discussion on the potential for creating resource groups within your organization. In this initial meeting, there are several topics you should be sure to cover, including: 

  •  The budget and support the company plans to offer to any resource groups that are formed
  • The relevance to the company’s existing DEI program
  • Working with employees to discover what groups are needed, and who in the community might be interested in volunteering to lead these groups. 

Once you have established some ERGs, the first step for these new groups is to decide on a cadence for meetings and events, and establish a charter with a clear outline of the aims and priorities of the group. Having a clear and purpose-driven charter will make it much easier for the group to create an action plan moving forward, and an ERG with purpose is an ERG that is built for success. 

Deciding on a cadence for ERG meetings and events depends on a number of factors, including the size of your organization, the bandwidth of volunteers within the group, and the stated goals of the group. It’s important to make sure that there is planned content for any scheduled gathering, and that agendas for meetings are clear. Ensuring that all meetings and events feel substantive and intentional will signal to employees that the leaders of the ERG are serious about making change, and they will be more engaged and committed as a result. 

Creating a charter requires understanding not only the goals of the volunteers and participants of the ERG, but also the context of the group within the larger company. Is the ERG meant to be mainly an informal gathering place for employees who share an identity and their allies? Is it going to be integrated more thoroughly into the company’s DEI program, making recommendations to leadership? Is the group empowered to organize employees for events outside of work? Do they have access to a budget? These are some of the questions that you will want to answer as the charter is developed. 

The best way to ensure that the charter developed for your ERG is setting the group up for success is to make sure that you are centering the needs of the members in answering any questions. The company may want an ERG that is more active in building DEI content or practices, but if the members need a space to gather and build community, then that should be the focus of the ERG. As the group grows, or concerns and goals change, the group and its charter may evolve. 

2.Finding your Leaders

The single most important factor in building a successful ERG is making sure you have volunteers and leaders who are committed to participating in and growing the program. So how do you encourage people to volunteer? 

Establishing an ERG is one thing, but making sure that the ERG serves the community is where the real work lies. Make sure your ERG has a clear purpose, stated in its charter, and understood by both employees and leaders of your organization. A clear statement of purpose, along with values and scope that are understood by all will help establish your ERG as a force for the positive changes your team wants to see. 

Another way to set your ERG up for success is to ensure that feedback from ERG members and volunteers has a direct line to leadership. When the members of an ERG do the work to identify an issue or area for growth, and present that to leadership, that feedback should be publicly acknowledged and acted on. When members of the community sees that the ERG is able to affect change within the organization, they will be much more inclined to get involved. 

Finally it can be very helpful to create a quarterly or yearlong calendar of the events and content planned for your ERG. This calendar should be made public, so all employees can see all of the exciting upcoming content and potentially get involved! 

Another important factor in establishing a successful ERG is making sure that the group has support from company leadership, in the form of a sponsor or other leadership role. Having demonstrated support at the highest levels of the organization will demonstrate that the company is committed to the goals of the resource group, which helps to keep volunteers engaged and motivated to participate for the long run. It will also mean that any initiatives organized by the group will have someone in leadership available to assist in moving things forward. 

3. Developing Content for Your ERG’s

Once you’ve established your ERGs, set them up with a clear charter, and engaged leaders and volunteers, it’s time to create or source content for your group. There is a huge variety of content available for resource groups, from live virtual or in person events to wellness programs and asynchronous content. It is key to consider inclusivity when planning events. Virtual events create opportunities for remote employees. Recorded content that can be delivered and used asynchronously provides opportunities for group members to engage on their schedule and according to their bandwidth. 

Depending on the charter and mission statement of your ERGs, you may want to design or purchase content that is centered around the shared identity of the group members, like lectures with experts, DEI based training on concepts like navigating inherent bias or microaggressions in the workplace. However, it can also be useful to find content that is less specific to the central focus of the ERG if the charter is more focused on providing a safe communal space for employees from underrepresented communities. Sometimes planning an event to cook or make art together is a wonderful way for group members to build connection and community. The main thing is to make sure that whatever content is planned, it suits the purpose of the ERG, and supports the members. 

4. The Benefits of Continuity

Establishing a sense of continuity between your ERG and the company as a whole will benefit your group enormously. There are many ways to achieve a level of continuity even with a new group. 

  • Where appropriate, inviting “ally” members to join ERGs can help initiate and foster a sense of community that can have huge positive benefits. 
  • Empowering your ERG to develop company initiatives, whether focused on the specifics of their charter (EG facilitating internal DEI trainings) or some other priority of the group members.
  • If your company has multiple ERGs, promoting collaboration between those groups to share in hosting events, to work together to design and implement company initiatives, or host events for the wider community. 


The main thing is to make sure that your ERG has a visible presence for the wider company, in whatever makes sense for your organization. This could look like having ERGs share updates in all-hands meetings, inviting them to host or facilitate events or initiatives, or creating opportunities for the whole company to learn together, while highlighting the efforts of your ERGs to create a sense of community and inclusivity. 

5. ERGs and Onboarding

A successful ERG is one that is integrated into company processes, like onboarding. The impact of including ERGs in your onboarding process can be huge, since it creates opportunities for minority-identified new hires to meet established employees who share their identity, and helps to emphasize for all new hires your company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. 

There are many ways to include ERGs in your onboarding process. You could make sure regular ERG meetings invite and welcome new hires as they join the company, invite volunteers or leaders from ERGs to a special onboarding meet and greet with a cohort of new employees or invite members of ERGs to lead onboarding sessions in their areas of expertise. In any case, make sure to include information about all your ERGs in welcome packets or any cultural onboarding sessions you already run. 


Whatever the content or aims of your ERG, it is vital to position the group to become a long-term part of the cultural strategy at your company. Creating opportunities for members and leaders of ERGs to provide feedback on DEI and other strategies will help establish the resource groups as integral. This, along with your content strategy, clear charter and continuity strategy will attract more members to the group and help keep them engaged – keeping your ERGs vibrant, and setting them up for long term success.


Still have questions? Contact us at to get started building, supplementing, or continuing your ERG today! 

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