How to Empower Virtual ERGs 💙

How to Empower Virtual ERGs 💙

With the majority of companies continuing to promote a remote-first work environment after almost a year, there’s a need to re-energize your team’s ERGs (Employee Resource Groups).

How exactly can you and your employee experience teams empower your ERGs and support them in hosting successful events?

TLDR: Allow your ERGs to shine by taking a supporting role and helping them with the event planning logistics. Provide your ERGs with an events playbook or checklist to offer a plug-and-play option for them, so they can focus on curating the event itself.

Always keep open communication with your ERGs. Consistently check in with them to know what support or resources they need to succeed. Also, encourage your ERG’s to follow a “less is more” strategy when it comes to planning meaningful events.

Schedule Ahead 📅

  • The best way you can help your ERG’s and encourage them to plan their own events is to get ahead of programming and planning for the year at a glance. Start out by working with ERG leads to build out a calendar of events and special days for each month. Once the ERGs can see everything that is going on in the year, it allows them to begin scheduling timely events for their group. If a full year is a bit too much to break off, take things quarter by quarter.
  • Here’s a full list of events and special days to be aware of for 2021! By being proactive and planning well in advance with content calendars, it will take the pressure off of you and your ERG’s as time is on both of your sides.

Take a Supportive Role 🌟

  • Offer support to your ERGs as an event planner tackling the event logistics. This allows them to focus more on what the event will be and plan out the content. This process lets your ERG’s shine so they can bring their passion into running and planning the event.
  • By being there every step of the way to support, your ERG’s will gain confidence in being able to create their own events and it will encourage them to continue running their own events.

Provide an Events Planning Checklist 📝

  • If you aren’t fully able to take on a supportive role for each ERG event, another great option to continue empowering and helping them by providing an events playbook or planning checklist. This helps to create a plug-and-play option for your ERGs to start planning their events with all the logistical tasks clearly outlined in the playbook. You can even include pre-made good event ideas and pre-approved vendors that you recommend.
  • Include all the crucial information and steps that would be beneficial to those who have never planned an event before. Create this guide with the idea in mind that your ERGs should be able to reuse it for any type of event they are planning. By clearly outlining your event planning process in a checklist, you are also empowering them to be able to run their own events on their own.

Less is More❗️

  • It may be easy for your ERG’s and even you to think the more events that are happening the better. However, it is actually the opposite! If there is too much going on it is easy for other employees to miss events and become overwhelmed with everything that is going on. That’s why it’s important to communicate with your ERGs that less is more when it comes to planning events for a team.
  • Encourage them to host events regularly, but not too often. The perfect amount would be one event a week or one event a month depending on your companies cadence of other employee events. Remember to keep in mind time availability, monthly themes, and budget allocations. There is no harm in starting slow and easing into regular events from your ERG’s. Everyone has to start somewhere!

Timely Events ⏰

  • Since you are encouraging them to plan out their events in advance, suggest that they plan timely events and programs around holidays, special days, and monthly themes. This will help to ensure that more people will come out to these events as they will be very relevant to what is currently happening.
  • For example, if you are helping your women@ ERG, suggest that they run special events for International Women’s Day on March 8th to help celebrate and empower the women on the team. For more ideas on how to celebrate Women’s Month check this out!

A Collaborative Approach 🤝

  • Another way that you can help support and empower your ERGs is to encourage them to come together and plan some combined events. By taking a collaborative approach it puts less stress on the different ERG groups as they can work together and help each other. It will also encourage more employees to come out to these events run by multiple ERGs. 

Regular Check-ins 🏁

  • Something that is so important and can be easily forgotten is simply having open and consistent communication with your ERGs. Life and work can get busy and it can be easy to forget to simply check-in on them. In order to make sure this step isn’t looked over, schedule regular check-ins with each of your ERGs individually and then one altogether. This makes sure everyone is on the same page, everyone has the support they need and it helps to avoid having events scheduled at the same time!
  • A great format to these regular check-ins with ERGs is to ask them: What’s going well? What’s not going well? Are there additional resources or support that you need?
  • Another option to the regularly scheduled check-ins is hosting biweekly ERG office hours where different ERG teams can pop into a Zoom call to get their questions on the do’s and don'ts of event planning answered. 
  • It’s as simple as that! By creating this open communication it shows each ERG that you genuinely care about how they are doing, where you can offer your support and event planning expertise, and that you want them to succeed. They will begin to feel more comfortable coming to you first, which is the goal!

Wondering how to get started on adding ERGs to your workplace? Follow this simple guide to creating ERGs.

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