Diversity & Inclusion, Recruiting

Building and Fostering Employee Resource Groups

At a time when talent pools are shrinking and turnover is at an all-time high, HR leaders are challenged with prioritizing initiatives that will both attract and retain employees in our new digital workplace. A survey found that 76% of jobseekers and employees rank a diverse workforce as an important factor when evaluating prospective employers and offers, and another reports that employees who are engaged and have high well-being are 59% less likely to look for a job with a different organization in the next year.

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Employee resource groups (ERGs) are an extremely valuable tool for both attracting and retaining diverse talent. How so? Consider the following:


Today’s prospective employees want their employers to make a difference in their local communities. More and more jobseekers are looking for companies with established diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategies, as well as groups to support underrepresented populations. In fact, a survey found that 84% of respondents expressed interest in joining an ERG if offered by their employer. ERGs can also prove valuable for diverse hiring referrals, as social networks and word-of-mouth recruitment extend the reach of traditional recruiting tactics.


As time working remotely has increased, so has employees’ desire for a greater sense of connection and belonging. ERGs inherently create a community, uniting diverse perspectives around common causes. Because the complex challenges facing our world increasingly permeate company walls, it’s important to foster an open dialogue, even on tough subjects. ERGs can function as a safe environment to process information, as well as an outlet to validate emotions, discuss perspectives, and affirm voices. They’re also a powerful tool to deepen internal connections and boost employee engagement.  

Let’s not forget leadership opportunities in ERGs; these provide leadership experience outside of the traditional development pipeline, or organization structure. Employees can sharpen leadership skills and improve their skill set by taking a lead role in the success of an ERG.

How to Ensure an ERG Is Set Up for Success:

First, establish a charter for the ERG, and set measurable goals and objectives. While the objectives by the ERG may differ, setting a regular cadence to measure and report progress will help maintain focus on the group’s priorities. Goal-setting also ensures each initiative, or activity, is purposeful and aligns with the group’s larger mission. Ultimately, ERG goals must align with the organization’s overall D&I strategy, but the group should have some autonomy over its scope, membership, and success.

Next, identify your D&I champions, and engage employees in ERG leadership roles. Empower them with resources, support, funding, and governance, and create standard operating procedures, budgets, and events that resonate with your membership.

Lastly, ERGs are key components of your organization’s inclusion and belonging culture and can help businesses bolster engagement and increase revenue through diverse ideas in innovation, tools, products, and services. They strengthen company culture and trigger a positive ripple effect across the organization (while supporting the HR function’s goals of recruiting and retaining diverse talent).

Dianne Greene is Verisk’s Head of D&I. She works with the company’s D&I Leadership Council, business and function leaders, and colleagues across the enterprise to ensure Verisk lives up to the highest standards for an inclusive culture.

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