Competition for top talent remains strong. Labor concerns are top-of-mind for global executives in 2023. And as we’ve seen, remote and hybrid work demand remains high.

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) provide the connection and community that will keep your people engaged and happy in the workplace, no matter where they are. And awesome ERG event ideas level up the employee experience.

Human resource leaders and people teams can attract and retain top talent by building a culture that values and cultivates belonging. Let’s explore how Employee Resource Groups elevate engagement and how you can use events to optimize ERGs in your organization.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is an Employee Resource Group?

An Employee Resource Group is a voluntary and oftentimes employee-led initiative that an organization formally supports. ERGs coalesce around shared identities, interests, or experiences. They aim to support employees by providing opportunities to network and create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.

ERGs provide a platform for employees to connect with one another and share their experiences, separate from their work tasks, and in a psychologically safe and inclusive environment. The primary goal of ERGs is to create a sense of community, support, and belonging for employees who may otherwise feel isolated or underrepresented in the workplace.

The primary goal of ERGs is to create a sense of community, support, and belonging for employees, who may otherwise feel isolated or underrepresented in the workplace.

Types of Employee Resource Groups

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) ERGs

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) ERGs organize around a particular identity or characteristic, such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or ability. Examples include Women in Leadership, BIPOC, Allies, Neurodiverse, and LGBTQIA+ networks.

Affinity ERGs

Affinity ERGs are for people with common interests in movement, reading, writing, the arts, technology, gaming, culinary arts, and sustainability. Examples of affinity groups include a bike team, a book club, or an environmentally focused “Green Team.”

Volunteer ERGs

Volunteer ERGs focus on organizing volunteer activities for employees to engage in community service and philanthropic work.

Professional development ERGs

Professional development ERGs focus on leadership development, mentoring, and networking, like a Women in Leadership ERG, a group for young professionals, or a parents and caregivers ERG.

Read more: Getting Started with Employee Resource Groups

They create community amongst distributed teams and develop a sense of belonging and inclusion at work.

10 Employee Resource Group event ideas

If you’re wondering how to boost morale, retain top talent, and support DEI efforts, ERG events are your answer. They create community amongst distributed teams and develop a sense of belonging and inclusion at work.

In the past, connections were built in the office. In today’s modern workplace, ERG events play a vital role in fostering connections and building community no matter where your people are. Here are some inspiring ERG event ideas to engage employees:

1. Networking events

Organize networking events where employees can connect with peers, leaders, and industry experts. For example, you could host a returnship guest speaker co-sponsored by a Working Parents cohort and Women in Leadership ERG.

2. Educational events and workshops

Host events that provide educational opportunities for employees to learn about topics relevant to their job or industry. For example, hold an Allyship workshop focused on what Allyship means and tools for building workplace equality. This could be an opportunity for a partnership with a Diversity ERG.

3. Virtual tours

Virtual tours are a fantastic way to transport ERG members to a new learning space for a shared experience. For example, host an LGBTQ+ virtual pride tour in June to celebrate Pride month. Other fantastic tours, like the AAPI history tour and Hispanic Heritage Month, are based on interest.

4. Volunteering programs

Sponsor a company-wide day of service and coordinate volunteer opportunities for employees to give back to their community, where it matters to them. Doing good aligns with your company’s mission and vision while fostering connections outside the office and away from work tasks.

5. Book clubs

Encourage employees to read and discuss books related to professional or personal growth. For example, a DEI book club can open up deep conversations on diversity, equity, anti-racism, and inclusion and empower your people to dive into complex issues in a safe and supportive space.

6. Lunch and learn sessions

Host a series of informal training sessions where employees can learn new skills or gain insights from experts within or outside the company. For example, a neurodiversity lunch and learn could include a roundtable discussion of strategies to support neurodiversity in the workplace, including sensory-friendly workspace, communication accommodations, and executive function support.

7. Health and wellness events

Promote healthy habits by organizing events focusing on physical, emotional, and mental well-being. This can include total well-being initiatives, such as yoga sessions, meditation classes, inclusive dance, health screenings, community gardening, or stress management workshops.

Check out: A Guide to Employee Well-Being in the Workplace

8. Cultural celebrations

Celebrate the diversity of the workplace by hosting cultural events. ERGs can organize events that showcase different cultures, traditions, and holidays, such as Lunar New Year, Diwali, or Cinco de Mayo.

9. Mentorship programs

Establish a mentorship program where employees can connect with mentors within or outside the company. ERGs can create a platform for mentors and mentees to interact, share insights, and provide support. To keep employees engaged, intelligent leaders must build community among team members. According to a survey, relationships with colleagues are among the most critical factors influencing productivity and decisions to stay with an organization.

10. Employee recognition events

Host events that recognize employees’ achievements and contributions to the company. ERGs can create awards, nominate employees, and organize events celebrating their successes.

Read more: 21 Creative Employee Recognition Ideas

High-impact, culture-driven gatherings can unify dispersed teams.

Tips for creating the best ERG events

High-impact, culture-driven gatherings can unify dispersed teams. The key to success is prioritizing connection and community.

1. Encourage active participation

A corporate events management platform can track attendance and success and ensure employee engagement and positive experience.

2. Align with goals

Events should focus on topics and interests relevant to group members. For example, if a goal is to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, then training on Allyship would be appropriate.

3. Collaborate

Create joint events to foster relationships between ERGs and create a sense of community between identity groups. Executive support for ERGs and events is critical for their visibility, credibility, and influence.

4. Record the event

Anyone who cannot participate in real-time can still benefit from the experience or revisit the event at a later date.

5. Debrief and gather feedback

Poll event participants soon after the event to measure success and identify areas for improvement in the future.

Cultivate connection, community, and employee engagement

Your people are your mission, vision, and values in action. Employee Resource Groups create strong connections and build a community centered on what your people share. Let your employees’ vision shine and create a company culture of belonging and inclusion.

To keep employees engaged, leaders must do everything they can to build community among team members. Employees want to feel like they are working toward a common goal with people whose company they enjoy. ERGs can be a powerful force for driving change within an organization. ERGs build awareness of important topics, develop proposals to address challenges, collaborate with leadership, and measure progress toward solutions.

Build community with Espresa’s events management platform for Employee Resource Groups, supporting a revolution in employee engagement, inclusion, and actionable insights. When you empower your culture, everyone wins.


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