Center for Effective Organizations


Employee Resource Group Leadership Summit, June 2013

Employee Resource Groups as sources of innovation and growth

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with Theresa Welbourne, Ian Ziskin, and Lacey Leone McLaughlin.


2013 ERG Report

The theme of the summit is ERGs as Sources of Innovation. Innovation is defined here as something different that has impact. The takeaway from this summit is to go back and have an impact on your career and the organization. Questions to think about over the course of the workshop: How can your ERG be more innovative? Good innovators leap well. They are good at crossing-over by learning in one area and applying that in another area. What do we mean by ERGs? Initially, ERGs represented a demographic group but evolved to focus on many different mutual interests. What is it about people's coming together that is important? Whatever that thing is, it is applicable not just to larger companies, but also smaller companies. ERGs themselves are not diverse; you are coming together because you are alike. What is it about this that creates safe-zones within ERGs? Is it because you are alike that you trust each other? What is next for ERGs? All of these questions were addressed over the course of the summit.

This conference's participants were both ERG leaders and people from HR/corporate in general. We planned this to be a data-driven conference that would use data coming from your ERG members to inform our learning. We learned from each other as well as experts. The goal of this summit was to build leadership skills by learning to innovate in your own careers and in leading your ERGs, and in helping your ERG assist the company in meeting its goals and objectives.

As part of the conference, all participating companies were surveying their ERG members. Some are still doing the survey and some will do it afterward. After all data are in, everyone will get benchmarking data - your company versus all others as an aggregate. This data can be used to drive thinking and conversations.

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