Employee Resource Groups for business development

by | Aug 2, 2022

Employee Resource Groups are a great way to share your needs as a business developer. Learn the benefits of being part of an ERG.

One challenge for many business development professionals is not having guidance and proper training from their companies. This creates many inefficiencies: as a BD you’re not sure of what to do, lack motivation, and therefore results in your work.

On the other hand, the company is often losing money and precious time investing in activities that don’t really work out. Moreover, business developers that are not engaged will leave the company relatively fast, and the company will have to start the recruitment process all over again.

Overall, it seems like a lose-lose situation for both companies and business developers.

A solution to share your needs as a business developer and make sure you get proper training and guidance is creating an employee resource group.

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are groups of team members who share common interests. These groups are formed voluntarily.

ERGs are great to create a workplace that operates in unison with the general culture, values, and goals ​​of the company. Moreover, such communities will provide you with opportunities for growth and development. You’ll be in touch with other peers, you’ll find mentors and you grow your network.

In addition, they’ll increase employee engagement, help with talent development, and contribute to the success of a business.

Basically, the main goal of these groups is to build a community of support among employees. So, they should provide a safe place for all the employees regardless of their socio-cultural and economic backgrounds. A place where they feel at home instead of feeling excluded from their workplace.

Why create an Employee Resource Group?

ERGs bring value to the company in so many ways. First, these groups meet general human needs. We all want to feel a sense of belonging in our daily environments. We want to make sure that we feel accepted for who we are and what we bring to a business. And that’s what these groups provide.

Building a strong community is very important for creating this sense of belonging. Not only do Employee Resource Groups improve general cultural awareness within the company, but also help forge meaningful connections and relationships between team members. As a result, this improves general employee satisfaction.

Companies that have Employee Resource Groups are known to have higher retention rates. Employees who decide to become part of an ERG group tend to stay loyal and committed for longer periods of time to the company they work for. These groups also help foster healthy relationships between leaders and employees.

By joining ERG groups, members feel safe and supported. In turn, they find it easy to voice their opinions or concerns with their boss or manager. This is very important as it helps save time when problems show up at work. So, ERGs are a great method to use in order to fix employee issues, meet their needs, and develop policies.

Lastly, companies with ERGs can significantly improve equality in the workplace. When a team is composed of people who work in an office and others who work remotely, these groups help them join forces together. They work towards common interests and goals without feeling marginalized or disconnected from their work environment.

How to start an Employee Resource Group?

In an ideal situation, the employer offers budget support and organizational support to ERGs. If that’s not the case, you can start it on your own. There’s no need to wait. Also, you don’t need permission to start an employee resource group.

You can form a group voluntarily with your colleagues who share a similar identity and have common interests with you. In the beginning, it can be just a few of you. It doesn’t really matter as long as you have shared values and goals. So, the first step to create an ERG is to find your first members.

Invite all your colleagues and those interested will join. Once you form your team, schedule the first meeting. The goal of this meeting is to get to know each other. So, try to make the first meeting as informal and casual as possible. It should be considered more as an opportunity for everyone to come together.

Organizing your first meeting doesn’t have to be a complicated process. For example, you can invite your team for a brief coffee session or lunch. You can use this time to generate ideas for the name of your group and the main topics you’ll discuss.

The next step is to schedule a workshop. In the workshop, you define the characteristics of your group. This can be the purpose or vision. Also, what you’ll work on. Once you define these, create charter documentation. This should contain the definition of the group, its purpose, and topics.

Set up communication channels

Now that you have your ERG formed, there are a few more steps to finalize it. It’s important to set up communication channels. You can create an email list, chat room, WhatsApp group, and so on. You can also set up virtual meetings from time to time.

But, research shows that one of the best ways to communicate with your team is to have face-to-face meetings. It’ll save you time and help form more trustworthy relationships. So, one of the main positive aspects of your team meeting is that you’ll get to form strong relationships with others.

Importantly, take into account that some group members may not be always available for a face-to-face meeting. You can use video conferencing tools to schedule virtual meetings. All the group members should be able to join the meetings from anywhere.

As one of the final steps, consider designing a logo for your ERG. Your logo is a great visual symbol that defines your group’s identity. You can do it yourself to reduce costs or ask someone with the right expertise for help. There are many logo-making tools you can use in this case.

The last step is to promote your ERG. Invite new members to join your group through internal communication channels. Spread the word out so that more and more people join your groups and connect together.

Growing your ERG

Once your ERG is ready to go, focus on building relationships within the company and making progress on your goals. The first thing to do is to assign particular roles to your team members. Decide which person will be in charge of each activity. Then, define the go-to person of the ERG.

Find a person who keeps an eye on the membership. So, your current and new members. Afterward, decide who’s the group communicator. Finally, choose the person in charge of the group budget, in case your ERG has one.

Another important thing is to identify your main partners. They can be from any department in your company. For example, the leadership team, administrative team, and HR team. Identify any department that can support your ERG in achieving your goals.

Once you have these technical aspects sorted, take time to plan group activities for the next few months. It’s okay if priorities change over time. But, ensure that everyone’s updated accordingly.

This is what your plan should include:

  • Internal projects such as training
  • Networking events and meetings
  • Volunteer projects

Make a list of these activities and calculate the approximate spending required for each one. Then, continue by creating a budget proposal.

Once you have this ready, make an official request to your company for financial support. This can really boost your chance for growth so that you can invest in large-scale projects.

The proposal should state how much you are requesting and for what activities in particular. Make sure to assess the impact these activities will have on the company and community. You want to invest in projects that will create longevity for your Employee Resource Groups.

Conclusion

Teamwork is very important, but effective teams have a sense of inclusion and belonging. If no in-team communities are formed in the workplace, the company will not get the benefits that it can have.

Employee Resource Groups make problem-solving an efficient process. But also, they bring innovation and team diversity. Diverse companies tend to be more successful. Nowadays, many companies create ERGs in order to empower and support their employees within the organization.

They provide opportunities and visibility for those who may feel that they’re not seen and heard. ERGs give members a sense of togetherness and connection. They act as a gateway for the work culture to thrive in every way.

Do you want to learn how to form your first successful Employee Resource Group?

Then, join our personalized learning platform and learn how to work smarter, more efficiently, and in an attractive environment!

Employee Resource Groups are a great way to share your needs as a business developer. Learn the benefits of being part of an ERG.

One challenge for many business development professionals is not having guidance and proper training from their companies. This creates many inefficiencies: as a BD you’re not sure of what to do, lack motivation, and therefore results in your work.

On the other hand, the company is often losing money and precious time investing in activities that don’t really work out. Moreover, business developers that are not engaged will leave the company relatively fast, and the company will have to start the recruitment process all over again.

Overall, it seems like a lose-lose situation for both companies and business developers.

A solution to share your needs as a business developer and make sure you get proper training and guidance is creating an employee resource group.

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are groups of team members who share common interests. These groups are formed voluntarily.

ERGs are great to create a workplace that operates in unison with the general culture, values, and goals ​​of the company. Moreover, such communities will provide you with opportunities for growth and development. You’ll be in touch with other peers, you’ll find mentors and you grow your network.

In addition, they’ll increase employee engagement, help with talent development, and contribute to the success of a business.

Basically, the main goal of these groups is to build a community of support among employees. So, they should provide a safe place for all the employees regardless of their socio-cultural and economic backgrounds. A place where they feel at home instead of feeling excluded from their workplace.

Why create an Employee Resource Group?

ERGs bring value to the company in so many ways. First, these groups meet general human needs. We all want to feel a sense of belonging in our daily environments. We want to make sure that we feel accepted for who we are and what we bring to a business. And that’s what these groups provide.

Building a strong community is very important for creating this sense of belonging. Not only do Employee Resource Groups improve general cultural awareness within the company, but also help forge meaningful connections and relationships between team members. As a result, this improves general employee satisfaction.

Companies that have Employee Resource Groups are known to have higher retention rates. Employees who decide to become part of an ERG group tend to stay loyal and committed for longer periods of time to the company they work for. These groups also help foster healthy relationships between leaders and employees.

By joining ERG groups, members feel safe and supported. In turn, they find it easy to voice their opinions or concerns with their boss or manager. This is very important as it helps save time when problems show up at work. So, ERGs are a great method to use in order to fix employee issues, meet their needs, and develop policies.

Lastly, companies with ERGs can significantly improve equality in the workplace. When a team is composed of people who work in an office and others who work remotely, these groups help them join forces together. They work towards common interests and goals without feeling marginalized or disconnected from their work environment.

How to start an Employee Resource Group?

In an ideal situation, the employer offers budget support and organizational support to ERGs. If that’s not the case, you can start it on your own. There’s no need to wait. Also, you don’t need permission to start an employee resource group.

You can form a group voluntarily with your colleagues who share a similar identity and have common interests with you. In the beginning, it can be just a few of you. It doesn’t really matter as long as you have shared values and goals. So, the first step to create an ERG is to find your first members.

Invite all your colleagues and those interested will join. Once you form your team, schedule the first meeting. The goal of this meeting is to get to know each other. So, try to make the first meeting as informal and casual as possible. It should be considered more as an opportunity for everyone to come together.

Organizing your first meeting doesn’t have to be a complicated process. For example, you can invite your team for a brief coffee session or lunch. You can use this time to generate ideas for the name of your group and the main topics you’ll discuss.

The next step is to schedule a workshop. In the workshop, you define the characteristics of your group. This can be the purpose or vision. Also, what you’ll work on. Once you define these, create charter documentation. This should contain the definition of the group, its purpose, and topics.

Set up communication channels

Now that you have your ERG formed, there are a few more steps to finalize it. It’s important to set up communication channels. You can create an email list, chat room, WhatsApp group, and so on. You can also set up virtual meetings from time to time.

But, research shows that one of the best ways to communicate with your team is to have face-to-face meetings. It’ll save you time and help form more trustworthy relationships. So, one of the main positive aspects of your team meeting is that you’ll get to form strong relationships with others.

Importantly, take into account that some group members may not be always available for a face-to-face meeting. You can use video conferencing tools to schedule virtual meetings. All the group members should be able to join the meetings from anywhere.

As one of the final steps, consider designing a logo for your ERG. Your logo is a great visual symbol that defines your group’s identity. You can do it yourself to reduce costs or ask someone with the right expertise for help. There are many logo-making tools you can use in this case.

The last step is to promote your ERG. Invite new members to join your group through internal communication channels. Spread the word out so that more and more people join your groups and connect together.

Growing your ERG

Once your ERG is ready to go, focus on building relationships within the company and making progress on your goals. The first thing to do is to assign particular roles to your team members. Decide which person will be in charge of each activity. Then, define the go-to person of the ERG.

Find a person who keeps an eye on the membership. So, your current and new members. Afterward, decide who’s the group communicator. Finally, choose the person in charge of the group budget, in case your ERG has one.

Another important thing is to identify your main partners. They can be from any department in your company. For example, the leadership team, administrative team, and HR team. Identify any department that can support your ERG in achieving your goals.

Once you have these technical aspects sorted, take time to plan group activities for the next few months. It’s okay if priorities change over time. But, ensure that everyone’s updated accordingly.

This is what your plan should include:

  • Internal projects such as training
  • Networking events and meetings
  • Volunteer projects

Make a list of these activities and calculate the approximate spending required for each one. Then, continue by creating a budget proposal.

Once you have this ready, make an official request to your company for financial support. This can really boost your chance for growth so that you can invest in large-scale projects.

The proposal should state how much you are requesting and for what activities in particular. Make sure to assess the impact these activities will have on the company and community. You want to invest in projects that will create longevity for your Employee Resource Groups.

Conclusion

Teamwork is very important, but effective teams have a sense of inclusion and belonging. If no in-team communities are formed in the workplace, the company will not get the benefits that it can have.

Employee Resource Groups make problem-solving an efficient process. But also, they bring innovation and team diversity. Diverse companies tend to be more successful. Nowadays, many companies create ERGs in order to empower and support their employees within the organization.

They provide opportunities and visibility for those who may feel that they’re not seen and heard. ERGs give members a sense of togetherness and connection. They act as a gateway for the work culture to thrive in every way.

Do you want to learn how to form your first successful Employee Resource Group?

Then, join our personalized learning platform and learn how to work smarter, more efficiently, and in an attractive environment!

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Author

Egzon Syla

Content Writer at The BD School

I’m a passionate storyteller who believes in the power of the written word. I like creating content that is relatable, honest and original to help you become a more successful business development pro.

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