I’m the first to advocate that employee resource groups (ERGs) or affinity groups can benefit organizations. It’s a fundamental part of any organization’s diversity and inclusion strategy. Like many company ERGs, they’re managed within the umbrella of existing business functions, as they should be, in order for them to have a significant organizational impact.
But while ERGs are certainly beneficial to the organization, an overdependence on them could potentially disconnect a company from its external network, community, and constituents.
How is your ERG engaged with the community it represents? What opportunities is it fostering to have an external community impact? And more importantly, is your ERG serving as an innovative conduit by bringing in ideas and trends from outside of the organizational bubble?
An effective ERG should balance its internal and external development goals; it should include a framework that balances internal needs with a value proposition to external constituencies.