What Are Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)?

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are internal communities where employees with common interests or backgrounds unite within organizations. They foster inclusion, offering safe spaces for connection and support, enhancing employee engagement and retention.

In addition, ERGs provide professional development opportunities, including mentorship and leadership training, aiding career advancement. They also serve as collective voices, influencing business decisions and driving positive change.

Therefore, supported by executive sponsorship and organizational backing, ERGs play a crucial role in creating inclusive environments. They are prevalent in the United States, with active groups focusing on various communities such as women, LGBTQ+, veterans, and ethnic groups.

So, ERGs offer a pathway to connect, grow professionally, and be part of a supportive community within the organization.

If you’re searching for employee resource group best practices, here are 5 that might help:

1. Writing employee resource groups mission statements

Let’s start with creating employee resource group mission statements. They outline your purpose and help with setting goals for ERGs. So, most have a similar message that aligns with company objectives, plus differences that are specific to each underrepresented community.

Here’s an example from Google of an ERG mission statement for all of their sub-groups:


And, here are 3 examples of group-specific employee resource group mission statements:

Argonne ERG mission statement for African Americans:

“The Argonne African American Employee Resource Group (AAA-ERG) partners with laboratory leadership to promote the development of African Americans in science, technology, and operations. Through engagement, mentorship, and programming that promotes cultural awareness and communication among the workforce, the AAA-ERG supports a world-class workplace to make a positive impact on the community.”

Berkeley Lab ERG mission statement for Veterans:

“The purpose of the VERG is to enhance the work environment at Berkeley Lab for veteran employees and job seekers. Our goal is to promote an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere, identify and address emerging issues or challenges such as veteran recruitment and retention, increase the visibility and value of veterans’ skills in the workplace among management and staff, provide guidance for institutional processes and programs, enhance policies of non-discrimination, and recognize achievements impacting our community. The group is open to all employees, including veterans and civilians. VERG is currently working on a self-identification campaign for veterans at the Lab.”

Hyundai mission statement example for Equality/LGBTQ ERG:

“Promotes a positive and inclusive work environment while providing opportunities for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Hyundai employees in education, career development, networking and workplace collaboration. Additionally, this ERG advances innovative ideas to drive awareness of the Hyundai brand within the LGBTQ community. Driving: Equality welcomes membership and contribution from all Hyundai employees supporting its goals, both LGBTQ employees and allies.”

Examples of ERGS

You can apply employee resource group best practices for many different underrepresented groups. So, some common ERGs are created for:

  • people with disabilities
  • women
  • cultural, race, or ethnic groups
  • religious groups
  • gender indentity minorities
  • sexual orientation minorities
  • age groups
  • parents and caregivers
  • veterans
  • neurodivergents
  • remote workers

2. Establishing employee resource group guidelines

Every ERG needs structure and boundaries, so creating employee resource group guidelines is key. Some companies do this in the form of:

  • an ERG “toolkit”
  • an employee resource group handbook
  • a page on their internal site

These are examples of things to include in your employee resource group guidelines:

  • how ERGs are created
  • how are they funded
  • who manages the funding
  • meeting structure and frequency
  • how leaders are selected
  • marketing the ERG

3. Getting ERG leadership buy-in

ERG best practices include getting approval and “buy-in” from upper management. If you have support from the top, there’s a higher chance of success:

“Seek out an executive within the organization who will sponsor your group. They don’t have to be deeply invested, but it should be someone who supports your mission and the demographic you’re trying to serve. This person will basically be your liaison with leadership and can speak up for you if they have any issues/concerns with your group after it’s been established.”

source: The Mom Project

ERG leadership buy-in doesn’t have to come from the HR or DEI departments. Take Meena Polich, for example; she’s Senior Counsel at Intercom and the co-founder/head of Inter-AzNs, Intercom’s employee resource group supporting their Asian community.

4. Developing “allyship” with Employee Resource Groups

Get people outside of the underrepresented group involved. Employee resource group best practices should include building a network of allies.

If your organization comprises 70% white men, invite them to ERG events or ask them to join an ERG leadership team. Bringing employees together from different backgrounds and cultures is the point of ERGs. Here are a few examples of common ally groups:

  • anti-racism allies ERG
  • ERG male allies
  • lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual & allies ERG
  • allies disabilities ERG

I also found this great post showing how allyship and understanding are built through ERGs:


Jennifer Temple is HPE’s Chief Communications Officer and the 2021 executive sponsor for HPE’s Young Employee Network. She said:

“Our Young Employee Network (YEN) is helping facilitate cross-generational understanding, which is vital to creating a workforce of the future. In the wake of George Floyd’s death in May of 2020, members of our Black Employee Network (BEN) helped me understand how to be a better advocate for social justice. And, members of our Disability Network have expanded my understanding of effective communication in a digital world.” 

5. Setting up training for employee resource groups

This list of ERG best practices isn’t complete without training. Training for employee resource groups is important, especially if you want to bring groups together to create a sense of belonging.

You can also use your mission statement and ERG guidelines as tools for training new members (or ERG leaders). Also, some ERGs host training sessions to foster relationships across their company. So, training topics might include:

  • unconscious bias
  • leadership
  • constructive communication
  • team building

You can also be more informal (and fun) by hosting other events through your ERGs like:

  • virtual coffee chats
  • a diverse speaker series
  • volunteer events

I noticed Indeed has Verzuz Battles hosted by their Black Inclusion Group, virtual Zumba classes led by Latinx in Tech, and virtual dance parties organized by iPride for Pride Month.

How Do ERGs Support Employees?

ERGs play a crucial role in supporting employees’ professional and personal growth, fostering an inclusive culture, and driving positive change within organizations. Let’s dive into how ERGs make a real difference in employees’ lives.

  1. Professional Development: ERGs offer mentorship programs, leadership training, and other resources to help members advance in their careers.
  1. Inclusive Workplace: ERGs provide a safe space where employees with similar backgrounds or interests can connect and support each other.
  1. Collective Voice: Through open forums and discussions, ERGs address common issues and influence business decisions, driving positive change within the organization.
  1. Community: An ERG is a great way to build relationships with colleagues who share your values and experiences.
  1. Organizational Support: From executive sponsorship to financial support, ERGs receive the resources they need to thrive.
  1. Career Opportunities: Through networking opportunities and exposure to leadership roles, ERGs help members climb the career ladder.
  1. Mental Health: Work can be stressful, but ERGs provide a support system for employees’ mental well-being. Whether it’s through informal chats or formal support programs, ERGs are there for their members.
  1. Personal Development: From building confidence to honing communication skills, ERGs offer a wealth of opportunities for personal development.

How Do ERGs Benefit Organizations?

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) aren’t just about individual growth; they’re about making the whole organization stronger. Here’s how ERGs benefit companies in big ways.

1. Diverse Talent Pool: ERGs attract a diverse range of employees with different backgrounds and perspectives. So, this diversity enriches the organization’s talent pool, bringing in fresh ideas and innovative thinking.

2. Inclusive Culture: ERGs help create an inclusive workplace where everyone feels valued and respected. By fostering a sense of belonging and community, ERGs contribute to a positive work environment.

3. Improved Employee Engagement: When employees feel connected to their peers and the organization, they’re more likely to be engaged in their work. Thus, ERGs provide a platform for employees to connect with others who share their interests and experiences, increasing overall employee engagement.

4. Enhanced Employee Retention: Employees who feel supported and included are more likely to stay with the company long-term. So, ERGs play a crucial role in employee retention by providing a support system and opportunities for growth and development.

5. Better Decision-Making: ERGs represent the voices of diverse groups within the organization. By participating in discussions and sharing insights, ERG members contribute to more informed and inclusive decision-making processes.

6. Leadership Development: ERGs offer leadership development opportunities for employees at all levels. So, from mentorship programs to leadership training, ERGs help develop the next generation of leaders within the organization.

7. Positive Reputation: Companies with active ERGs demonstrate their commitment to diversity, inclusion, and employee development. This positive reputation can also attract top talent and enhance the organization’s brand image.

8. Increased Innovation: ERGs bring together employees with different perspectives and experiences, fostering a culture of innovation. By encouraging collaboration and creativity, ERGs contribute to the development of new ideas and solutions.

The role of ERGs in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives

ERGs stand at the forefront of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within organizations. Here’s why:

1. Amplifying Diverse Voices: ERGs give a voice to underrepresented groups within the organization. ERG members contribute to a more inclusive workplace culture, by sharing their experiences and perspectives.

2. Advocating for Change: ERGs serve as advocates for diversity and inclusion within the organization. So, they champion policies and practices that promote equity and fairness for all employees.

3. Providing Support and Resources: ERGs offer a safe space for employees to discuss DEI-related issues and challenges. They provide support, resources, and mentorship opportunities to help members navigate their professional journeys.

4. Informing Business Decisions: ERGs offer valuable insights that inform business decisions and strategies. So, understanding the unique needs and perspectives of diverse employee groups, helps organizations to make more informed and inclusive decisions.

5. Fostering Cultural Competency: ERGs promote cultural competency and understanding among employees. Thus, through education and awareness-building initiatives, ERGs help create a more respectful and inclusive environment for all.

6. Driving Employee Engagement: ERGs increase employee engagement by providing opportunities for employees to connect with others who share similar backgrounds or experiences. So, this sense of belonging and community contributes to overall employee satisfaction and retention.

7. Partnering with Leadership: ERGs collaborate with executive teams and senior leadership to drive DEI initiatives forward. Therefore, executive sponsorship and support are essential for the success of ERGs and their impact on organizational culture.
8. Leading by Example: ERGs demonstrate the benefits of diversity and inclusion through their actions and initiatives. By showcasing the value of diverse perspectives and experiences, ERGs inspire positive change throughout the organization.


With Diversity and Inclusion in the spotlight, more employers are focusing on ERGs. Ongig supports diverse hiring practices with our Text Analyzer by eliminating bias of all kinds.


  1. 7 Best Practices for Maximizing the Value of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) (by Pamela Pujo)
  2. How to encourage diversity and inclusion with employee resource groups (by Catherine Thurtle)
  3. Best of Both: ERGs AND Inclusion (by Jennifer London)
  4. 10 Steps to Effective Employee-Resource-Group Charters (by Barbara Frankel)
  5. 7 Best Practices for Successful Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) (by Julie Kratz)
  6. Employee Resource Group Best Practices (by Together)
  7. Are Employee Resource Groups Good for Business? (by Shelton Goode, Ph.D., and Isaac Dixon, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP)
  8. Employee Resource Groups | 3 steps to set up ERGs and 5 must follow best practices to follow! (by UnRemot)
  9. Best Practices for Starting a Successful Employee Resource Group (ERG) (by Ashley Ziegler)
  10. 5 Kickass Employee Resource Groups That Drive Engagement (by Micah Lally)
  11. How to Build a Strong Employee Resource Group (by Yello)
  12. Understanding Employee Resource Groups: A guide for Organizations. (by Sarah Cordivano)
  13. So You’ve Built an ERG — Now What? (by Noelle Salerno)

by in Diversity and Inclusion