Employee Resource Groups Can Help Support A Diverse Workforce Blog

Employee Resource Groups Can Help Support A Diverse Workforce


During Pride Month and beyond, it’s helpful to spotlight employee resource groups (ERGs) and the role they play in organizations throughout the country. 

ERGs can be an effective tool for organizations to support the needs of their workers, particularly those from diverse backgrounds. These groups are internally created and offer a space for various communities (BIPOC employees, LGBTQ+ employees, and others) to connect. They’re also a meaningful way that companies can bolster their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts by providing a conduit for employees to express their interests, needs, and concerns. By creating and maintaining ERGs, companies can help their teams feel appreciated and celebrated.

The history and role of employee resource groups

The first official ERG was created in 1970. Since then, they have steadily become more prevalent. Google spotlighted at least 16 employee resource groups in 2021, and Johnson & Johnson highlights 12 enterprise-wide ERGs, for example.

ERGs take different forms in different organizations. For some, they’re informal groups that meet periodically to discuss issues relevant to their members. Other companies use ERGS to provide career development tools, including allyship, mentoring opportunities, and other resources. All ERGs aim to create a positive work environment and foster more transparency between employees and leadership. 

Participating in an ERG can also positively impact how employees view their employers. According to McKinsey & Company, Workers who rated their ERGs as effective or very effective were “significantly more likely to report positive inclusion scores than employees who rated their ERGs as ineffective or very ineffective: 83% compared with 59%.”

How ERGs can support workforce education access

Another way ERGs can benefit an organization: they can be an effective avenue for communicating the details of a company’s education benefits policy. This can be especially true if an ERG includes mentorship for its members. Mentors can encourage colleagues to explore the possible development opportunities available through education benefits. As is the case with ERGs, education benefits are a method with which a company can help boost job satisfaction for its employees while supporting DEI recruitment and retention goals. According to SEI's 2022 Great Resignation survey, "86% of workers who say their current employer offers employees tuition benefits... report their general level of happiness as fairly or very happy at their current job.

Actionable steps to connect ERGs with workforce development

As companies look for ways to support their employees, assessing their approach to ERGs can be helpful. It starts with asking their teams if there’s interest in starting new ERGs or if there are opportunities to expand existing ones. The goal should always be to foster an inclusive, respectful work environment, one in which all voices are heard.

Organizations can also support their teams by expanding access to educational opportunities, helping employees from diverse backgrounds to connect with the programs that best fit their individual interests and goals. 

And talent goals around upskilling and career pathing can benefit when organizations promote education benefits to and through employee resource groups: 90% of Workforce Edge users surveyed reported that they are using their education benefits to improve their opportunities for future promotion, career advancement, or higher salary.

If your organization offers education benefits but wants to see a higher uptick in employee utilization, consider tapping your employee resource groups as a great way to get the word out.

To discuss how education benefits can support your employees, contact Workforce Edge staff ​​here.


During Pride Month and beyond, it’s helpful to spotlight employee resource groups (ERGs) and the role they play in organizations throughout the country.