What Is an Employee Resource Group and How Can it Help Staff Retention for Your Brand?
A consistent, cohesive experience is a key driver of success. This is especially true for enterprise brands. As a leader, you work to help both clients and employees feel valued no matter which location they're in. And while you likely have some tools and tactics in place, there's one you might be overlooking: employee resource groups. But what is an employee resource group (ERG) and how can it enhance the experience of everyone who interacts with your brand? Let’s dive in.
What is an employee resource group?
ERGs connect and support employees who share a common attribute such as gender identity, lifestyle, religious affiliation, ethnic background, or interests. ERGs provide spaces where employees can talk openly about challenges they face and brainstorm ideas for improvements across your organization. Some groups can begin informally—for example, employees are drawn together by similar interests like professional development or diversity. They may gain traction with management support or request to formally organize. Other ERGs can take shape more formally from brand initiatives, like a volunteer or community service program. ERGs often craft a mission or purpose and reach out to interested parties across the organization to recruit additional members.
How do ERGs enhance your brand?
Employees aren't the only ones who benefit from ERGs. When employees feel heard and supported, this leads to higher morale, a stronger workplace culture, and a focus on fostering a welcoming, engaging atmosphere for customers, too.
ERGs can help your brand succeed by:
Attracting new hires. If you're currently in hiring mode, integrate ERGs into your recruitment strategy by discussing them with candidates. Research from CTR Factor found ERGs positively affect recruitment more than any other business area.
Retaining employees. When an organization loses great employees, team morale and company culture can suffer, and the cost of training new hires is substantial. An ERG's dialogue encourages a greater sense of belonging within the workplace, which can boost engagement, job satisfaction, and, ultimately, retention.
Identifying opportunities for improvement. When employees gather, conversations can shed light on trends and evolving customer needs. They can also reveal opportunities for improvement in client experience and operational efficiencies.
Soliciting feedback. ERGs can facilitate conversations about the challenges faced by various groups within your organization, and group members can communicate feedback to management.
Developing leaders. ERGs help identify and foster leaders within their membership. They also provide opportunities to interact with management.
How can you support ERGs within your organization?
Whether your organization has one or many ERGs, here's how to set them up for long-term success:
Offer time and space to congregate. Whether virtual or in person, set a time and place for ERG meetings and adjust employee schedules as needed to allow members the opportunity to attend.
Encourage feedback. Let your employees know you're open to any feedback they'd like to share—but don’t necessarily expect it. The discussions within ERGs shouldn't be dictated by management and should be safe spaces in which employees can speak freely.
Listen actively and implement changes. When presented with feedback, listen to your employees and make changes where needed. Provide an outline or plan for any changes and offer updates and additional opportunities for feedback on initiatives you roll out.
What role do ERGs play at Mindbody?
Mindbody’s own ERGs provide safe and welcoming spaces for like-minded affinity groups to meet and discuss relevant and important issues, and how they impact the broader world of wellness we serve. These employee-led groups drive awareness of unique points of view and provide ongoing community & educational opportunities for team members. Mindbody’s growing list of ERGs include:
Mindbody Black Alliance
Mindbody Women Collective
ERGs help ensure your employees feel engaged, supported, and appreciated, in turn leading to a consistently positive experience—for employees and clients both—no matter the location. Discussions within ERGs have a variety of benefits, whether it's promoting inclusivity for the LGBTQIA+ community, creating targeted services for parents, developing more sustainable business practices, or adding mental health initiatives for both staff and clients. ERGs can help create a more welcoming environment for all.