If you have not heard the term employee resource group (ERG), don’t be surprised. Although these groups have been in existence since the 1960s, and interest in them is on the rise, a large population of people have not heard of them. Part of the reason is that these groups also are known by other names including affinity groups, business resource groups, employee networks and now even more customized names.
A definition of ERGs is that they are purpose-driven employee volunteer organizations, sanctioned by the business, to pursue diversity goals as well as other business objectives. ERGs can be broken down into three different types: 1) social-cause centered ERGs, 2) professional-centered ERGs, 3) attribute-centered ERGs, and also today there are ally groups that are part of or complement ERGs. I will say more about the specific types of ERGs in these categories later.