September 25, 2023

How your organization can set ERG leaders up for success

Leading an ERG takes significant time and energy. ERG leaders are helping increase employee engagement, boost retention rates, support the company’s DEI goals, and so much more. In order for ERG leaders to do their jobs effectively, they must be supported by their surrounding community.

This week’s newsletter recaps our amazing LinkedIn Live Show with Thushy Muruges, Equitable Design Lead at Culture Amp. During this show, Thushy shared how companies can set up ERG leaders for success from three different perspectives: Company leaders, Executive Sponsors, and ERG leaders themselves.

When members of an organization come together to support and recognize ERG leaders’ efforts, they will see long-term ERG sustainability and success.

How company leaders can set ERG leaders up for success

Company leaders who want to help build effective ERGs must make sure ERG leaders have a very clear idea of their responsibilities.

ERG leaders are not responsible for running a talent acquisition program or building a DEI roadmap. They’re responsible for listening to the concerns of their members, and bringing those concerns to executive leaders so that executive leaders can make changes, Thushy says.

Company leaders are also responsible for providing ERGs with a budget to make sure members have adequate resources and guidance. This also means organizations should compensate ERG leaders.

Here are a few ways Culture Amp compensates its ERG leaders:

  • Paying them monetarily
  • Incorporating ERG responsibilities into performance reviews
  • Providing ERG leaders with professional training and development
  • Giving them access to speak at All-Hands or executive meetings to increase visibility and influence

“If you want to retain and attract diverse talent, you need to compensate the people who are helping you do the work,” Thushy says. “We don’t expect free labor from marginalized community members.”

How Executive Sponsors can set ERG leaders up for success

Executive Sponsors have institutional knowledge and an inside perspective on how to drive the business forward. They should make sure the ERG leader’s work is being amplified across the company.

Culture Amp’s Women’s ERG board lays out the responsibilities of an Executive Sponsor in their operating plan, according to Thushy. These responsibilities include:

  • Attending monthly board meetings with the ERG leadership team
  • Participating in quarterly sessions to review the ERG’s goals and strategy
  • Providing guidance on strategy and ensuring the ERG board is impactful on their vision
  • Helping ERG leaders gain influence and impact
  • Connecting with company executives to make the ERG’s vision a reality

Executive Sponsors have a great opportunity to identify where ERG leaders can gain access to career advancement, and amplify their work in rooms where the ERG leader is not yet present.

“You’re a part of that community now because you’re an ally so you have to do the work with them,” Thushy says.

How ERG leaders can set themselves up for success

ERG leaders are more likely to get leadership buy-in when they anchor their community goals to the company’s goals, Thushy says. For example, if your Talent team has a goal of recruiting more BIPOC leaders, you can focus on your member development to boost internal progression and help the company achieve its representation goal.

This also requires ERG leaders to set achievable and measurable goals for the ERG based on member feedback and communicate this feedback to company stakeholders.

It’s also imperative that ERG leaders recognize that their overall well-being and career growth come before their ERG responsibilities.

“You’re not going to fix all of the problems, you’re not going to change everything for the experiences of your members, so you have to know what you’ll focus on and anchor that to your day-to-day work,” Thushy says.

When ERG leaders can step back and think about how their work impacts their community, they can work towards their goals in a sustainable way and identify where they need more support.

Want to build a best-in-class Employee Resource Group at your organization? 

Perfeqta’s ERG Toolkit is a self-paced course for ERG leaders who want to structure an organized, mission-focused, and engaging community.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Define the purpose and mission of your ERG
  • Engage and motivate members to increase participation and attendance
  • Build relationships with company leaders to gain buy-in 
  • Improve member retention
  • Build an annual plan for community events
  • And more!

Learn more about our ERG Toolkit here.

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