How do I craft an effective ERG mission statement?

A mission statement is a key tool in championing your purpose and garnering support for your ERG. Often it includes a note on goals and objectives.

  • Focus on your “why” and the group’s values
  • Include the impact on the ERG members and the organization as a whole 
  • Craft your statement to be inclusive of all identities, including allies (ex. nonbinary gender identities, Latinx)
  • Add the business case as a helpful reminder to others in the organization

What should I look for when selecting an executive sponsor?

The most influential executive sponsor:

  • Is part of or has access to the C-suite
  • Identifies with the in-group or is an outspoken ally and champion for the mission
  • Brings their whole self to work
  • Cuts through red tape to bring new resources, like budget and ideas, to the table
  • Evangelizes the value of the ERG to managers and senior leadership
  • Elevates and normalizes vulnerability and critical conversations
  • Provides leadership insight and mentorship for the ERG and its members

What’s the best way to create awareness and recruit members?

The best way to reach out to employees depends on your company structure and size. For smaller companies, a welcome message and invitation to join, posted on multiple platforms and channels, should be effective. Larger companies can use internal newsletters or a personal email from a C-suite executive. 

  • Share it in the company newsletter
  • Ask executives to talk about it on their social media
  • Post on your intranet or Slack channels
  • Send a company-wide email announcing the new ERG
  • Talk to HR about involving ERGs in recruiting and onboarding
  • Host an annual conference with all ERGs to recruit new members and share best ERG best practices

How do I recruit allies? Should I recruit white men to join?

Allies who are open to educating themselves and maintaining the ERG’s safe space for sharing can be passionate champions for ERG initiatives. You should absolutely try to recruit allies from all demographics and identity groups, including white men. Traits you should look for when inviting allies are:

  • Being a good listener
  • Having the courage to ask questions and take ownership of mistakes
  • Being open to uncomfortable and courageous conversations
  • Willing to acknowledge their own privileges and unconscious biases 
  • Owning their roles as agents for change

How often should I hold ERG meetings with members? With corporate leaders? What should be covered during meetings?

You should make meetings fully accessible to all employees. Schedule your meetings on a regular cadence to help members plan their time and increase attendance rates. The meeting itself can be tailored to the members’ needs. It is critical that ERG leadership shares the meeting minutes so that members who could not attend stay informed and engaged with the ERG.

  • Choose a regular cadence, perhaps bi-weekly or monthly
  • Draft and share a meeting agenda, attendance records, and meeting minutes with all members
  • Consider your colleague’s different time zones
  • Make your meetings fully accessible to remote workers through live streaming 
  • Ensure accessibility for members with disabilities through accessibility features like audio descriptions, live captioning, and by sharing all presentations and materials ahead of time
  • Invite the Executive Sponsor to all meetings, and agree on how frequently they can attend
  • Ask your members how to make this ERG most valuable to them
  • Address any workplace policies or concerns by leveraging ERG support and Executive Sponsor leadership
  • Ideate and execute programs like community events, networking, professional development workshops, company-wide talks, and relevant celebrations
  • Give members leadership opportunities to execute events while delegating tasks to others

As a senior leader, how do I support ERG leaders who are balancing this volunteer position with their full-time job?

A mismanaged and undervalued ERG can feel like an unpaid burden. With these tips, you can empower ERG members and executive leadership to nurture the safe space and create a more inclusive environment:

  • Consider hiring full-time staff to support DEI efforts, especially if you do not already have a DEI leader with access to your C-suite executives
  • Offer a stipend to ERG leaders
  • Recognize employees for their work with ample public praise
  • Offer exclusive leadership development opportunities for ERG leaders
  • Make sure ERGs have adequate budgets 
  • Allow ERG members to use work hours for ERG activities

How do I manage multiple ERGs who are competing for the same resources?

Considering a business’s limited resources, ERGs naturally tend to compete for funding and attention. Transparency and cooperation can help ERGs to remember the ways they stand to mutually benefit from each other.

  • Make sure events between different ERGs are not on the same day
  • Encourage intersectionality by organizing events co-hosted by ERGs

How do I measure success?

ERG impact should be carefully monitored. Assign a metric to each intended outcome that is tied to the ERG goals and to DEI strategy as a whole. Benchmark these metrics among members, non-members, and relevant industry standards:

  • Membership size
  • Event attendance 
  • Engagement between ERG members and non-members
  • Retention or promotion rates between members and non-members
  • Employee satisfaction compared to non-members
  • Qualitative data through post-event surveys and testimonials
  • Talent referrals from ERG members
  • Social media responses to ERG-sponsored community posts
  • Representation from all geographies, functions, and levels of the organization







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