Dynamics of Employee Resource Groups: Leader Experiences Driving Mutual Benefits for Employees and Employers

August 14, 2023

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), which bring together employees with shared identity or purpose, have been expanding around the globe. ERGs can be a recruiting and retention tool, providing member benefits of career growth, developing friends and providing expanded purpose at work. Given their popularity, they are of interest for researchers. Dr. Theresa Welbourne, Affiliated Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Effective Organizations, with her colleagues conducted a study focused on the ERG leader experience overall and the benefits to employees and employers offered by ERGs. We did this by conducting in-depth interviews with ten ERG leaders in three different organisations. Our work uncovered five ERG topics (or emergent themes) discussed by the interviewees: (1) ERG structure and leadership, (2) Multi-faceted purpose of ERGs, (3) Moving from ERGs to business resource groups (BRGs), (4) Leader time management and (5) Organisational support for ERGs. Additionally, we propose avenues for future research and suggest new work focused on the mutual benefits of ERGs for both individuals and organisations.