ERGs: The Good, the Great and the Ghostly

Gwenna Kadima
5 min readJun 7, 2023

Despite their prevalence, Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) have varying levels of impact. Sometimes, the differences can get a little spooky.

Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

ERGs are voluntary, employee-led communities that provide a platform for their members to foster connections, develop skills, and enable organizational diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) objectives. ERGs are not a new phenomenon. Established in 1970 during the American Civil Rights Movement as a mechanism to improve outcomes for their Black talents, Xerox’s National Black Employee Caucus was the earliest recorded ERG.

Despite their history and ubiquity, ERG maturity and impact varies. As explored in my last article, high impact, established ERGs do exist and have the capacity to both inform and catalyze business priorities across functions, not just DEI. Unfortunately, many organizations have a limited view of what their ERGs should and could be, resulting in ERG programs with little to no impact.

For some context, let’s explore three tiers of ERG impact:

Tier 1: ERG Ghost Town

We’ll start with the worst case scenario: ERG Ghost Towns. These are ERGs that were once operational but are now defunct, yet they still façade on the organization’s external website or behind broken links on the company intranet. Typically…

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Gwenna Kadima

BIPOC Career Activator & Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Consultant