4 min. read

Leveraging Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) for DEI Success in Tech

The what, why and how to start an ERG

First things first. What are Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)?

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led groups that foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with the organisations they serve. They are typically created around a shared characteristic such as gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, and aim to provide support, enhance career development, and contribute to personal development in the workplace.

In the tech industry, where diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts are critical, ERGs can play a pivotal role in bridging gaps, supporting underrepresented groups, and fostering a culture of inclusivity.


ERGs are vital in promoting DEI within the tech industry.

They provide a platform for underrepresented groups to voice their concerns, foster a sense of belonging, and drive positive change within the organisation. By leveraging ERGs, tech companies can create a more inclusive culture, improve employee satisfaction, and ultimately, drive innovation and business success.

Steps to Start an ERG

1. Identify the Need

Recognise the need for an ERG within your organisation. Conduct surveys, hold discussions, and understand the unique challenges faced by your employees. Look at diversity data and feedback from employees to pinpoint specific areas where support is lacking.

2. Gather Support

Find like-minded colleagues who are passionate about the cause. Having a core group of motivated individuals will help drive the initial stages of forming the ERG. Engage with employees across various departments to ensure a diverse and representative core group.

3. Define the Mission and Goals

Clearly articulate the purpose, mission, and goals of the ERG. This will guide your activities and help align with the broader DEI objectives of the organisation. Ensure the mission statement reflects the specific needs and aspirations of the target group.

4. Seek Executive Sponsorship

Secure support from senior leadership. Having an executive sponsor can provide the necessary resources, visibility, and legitimacy to your ERG. The sponsor should be actively involved and advocate for the ERG within the executive team.

Learn how to create an Executive Sponsorship Program in Tech

5. Develop a Structure

Establish a governance structure, including roles and responsibilities. This could include positions such as a chair, co-chair, and various committee leads. Define the decision-making process and how the group will operate on a day-to-day basis.

6. Create a Charter

Draft a formal charter that outlines the ERG’s purpose, objectives, membership criteria, and operating procedures. This document will serve as a foundation for the group’s activities and ensure transparency and accountability.

7. Plan Activities and Initiatives

Design programmes, events, and initiatives that align with your goals. This could include networking events, mentoring programmes, workshops, and speaker series. Make sure the activities are varied and cater to different needs and interests within the group.

8. Budget & Organisational Resources

Define budgets available for the ERG or how they get support from the Employer Branding or Marketing team if they need support for events or activities.

9. Promote the ERG

Use internal communication channels to promote the ERG and its activities. Encourage participation from all levels of the organisation. Leverage newsletters, intranet sites, and company meetings to raise awareness and engagement.

10. Measure Impact

Regularly assess the impact of your ERG. Collect feedback, track participation rates, and measure progress towards your goals. Use this data to make improvements and demonstrate value to the organisation. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to consider include:

– Membership Growth: Track the number of members joining the ERG over time.

– Event Participation: Measure attendance and engagement at ERG events and activities.

– Employee Satisfaction: Conduct surveys to gauge the impact of the ERG on member satisfaction and overall workplace morale.

– Career Advancement: Monitor the career progression of ERG members to assess the effectiveness of professional development initiatives.

– Diversity Metrics: Analyse diversity data before and after the establishment of the ERG to measure changes in representation and inclusivity.

Potential Pitfalls 

Lack of Executive Support: Without backing from senior leadership, ERGs may struggle to gain traction and access necessary resources. It’s crucial to secure ongoing commitment from top management.

Inclusivity within the ERG: Ensure the ERG is inclusive and accessible to all employees, not just those who share the core characteristic. This fosters allyship and broader support. Avoid creating an exclusive environment that may alienate potential allies.

Over-reliance on ERGs for DEI Efforts: ERGs should complement, not replace, the organisation’s broader DEI strategy. It’s essential to integrate ERG activities with company-wide DEI initiatives and ensure they are part of a holistic approach.

Burnout: Leading an ERG can be demanding. Ensure leaders and members have adequate support and resources to prevent burnout. Rotate leadership roles periodically to distribute responsibilities.

Tokenism: Avoid using ERGs as a superficial effort to appear diverse. The commitment to DEI must be genuine and embedded in the company culture. Ensure that ERG initiatives are supported by meaningful policy changes and organisational practices.

Key Considerations for Women in Tech ERGs

– Focus on Professional Development: Offer programmes and resources that support the career advancement of women in tech, such as leadership training, coding workshops, and mentorship programmes. Tailor these initiatives to address the specific challenges women face in the tech industry.

– Address Gender Bias: Actively work to identify and mitigate gender biases within the organisation. Conduct workshops and training sessions to raise awareness and promote gender equity. Implement policies and practices that support a fair and inclusive workplace.

– Create Networking Opportunities: Facilitate connections among women in tech through events, panels, and informal gatherings. Building a strong network can provide support and open doors to new opportunities. Encourage cross-functional networking to expand reach and influence.

– Advocate for Policy Changes: Work towards implementing policies that support work-life balance and gender equity, such as flexible work arrangements, parental leave, and equal pay initiatives. Collaborate with HR to ensure these policies are effectively communicated and enforced.

Importance & Impact of ERGs

ERGs are not just about supporting specific groups but are integral to fostering an inclusive and equitable workplace. They play a crucial role in addressing systemic issues, promoting diversity, and ensuring that every employee can thrive. For women in tech, ERGs can provide the necessary support and resources to overcome barriers, advance their careers, and contribute to a more diverse and innovative industry.

Investing in ERGs is an investment in the future of the organisation.

It signals a commitment to DEI, attracts top talent, and fosters an environment where everyone can reach their full potential. The positive impact of ERGs extends beyond individual employees to the overall success and reputation of the company in the competitive tech landscape.

Better, together. 

Let’s work together on building a more equitable tech industry – one tech team at a time.

Work with Xena

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