Author: Paige D., Group Talent Development Manager
Looking to take your successful career to a new level? Participating in employee resource groups (ERGs) is a great way to build lasting relationships and stay engaged. ERGs, commonly referred to as diversity teams or affinity groups, are networks within a company where employees meet (in person or remotely) based on shared characteristics, experiences or goals.
These groups offer members a chance to network and socialize, work on professional development, and to raise awareness of relevant issues. Building camaraderie around shared identities and values gives employees further opportunities to be heard and valued by their peers and executive leadership. Keep reading for three benefits that employee resource groups can provide, and how they can positively impact your career.
A sense of belonging.
Employees who join ERGs are happier and more engaged because they feel more connected to others at work. These groups can provide a sense of community and connection, even in very large companies. By meeting others with similar life experiences, employees feel more supported. These relationships often go beyond transactional interactions and grow into deep friendships and mentorships. The daily realities of your career are much easier to manage when you have friends and mentors to share them with.
Professional development opportunities.
Who doesn’t want to thrive in their career? As companies continue to grow and develop new talent pools, employees who participate in ERGs can position themselves for success because they’ll have access to developmental opportunities that they might not otherwise. For example, non-management employees often develop leadership skills by participating in network groups. These resource groups also provide the perfect setting for formal or informal mentoring opportunities, which allow employees to develop their professional goals, connect with coworkers and begin to stand out to upper management.
Serve as a resource to senior leadership.
ERGs are a huge asset to any company’s leadership team! They offer diverse perspectives on various aspects of business operatives, polices and procedures. Employees who participate have numerous opportunities to work with senior leadership through internal events, panels and more. These employees can assist with recruiting and mentorship efforts, which positively impacts employee retention for the company. Most importantly, affinity groups bring a voice to employees who often feel underrepresented, address relevant issues and raise awareness. Joining a diversity team allows you to work with your leaders in creating greater trust and allyship amongst all employees in your organization.
At Enterprise, our global operating teams and multiple business lines support a collective mixture of different perspectives and employee voices. ERGs have been a key pillar of our company culture since day one. We have a multitude of diversity teams specific to ethnically diverse employees, females, veterans, parents, LGBTQ+ and those with disabilities – to name a few.
My team in South Carolina provides an array of ERGs for employees at any level of their career. Women in Networking (WIN) and the Diversity Minority Council (DMC) encourage the development and celebration of our female and diverse employees. Furthermore, the EnterPRIDE team promotes authenticity and increases awareness and education about the LGBTQ+ community. Enterprise’s corporate diversity, equity and inclusion team works hard to ensure all employees have access to resources and initiatives that help us build better relationships and experiences for our employees and the communities we serve.
If your company has employee resource groups available to you, get involved as soon as possible! It is important to raise your hand and take control of your career. Consider joining a group with which you identify. Also consider signing up as an “ally” in an ERG that is outside your own identity. We are all unique but have numerous potential intersections and shared experiences that bond us. When you get involved, you’re signing up for exposure to that next contact, connection, project or even potential career opportunity. You have nothing at all to lose, and so much to gain!