The most successful Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) or Employee Networks are set up by passionate employees who want to make a difference in their space of work. But with a packed calendar of events and activities, measuring the impact of busy ERGs can be challenging.
In this article, we’ll explore why knowing what your networks are achieving is so important. We’ll also look at some of the challenges to measuring impact, and best practices and tips to elevate it.
Why Measuring ERG Impact Is Important
Measuring the impact of ERGs is important for lots of reasons. First, it allows ERG Leaders to see if they’ve achieved their goals. If ERGs are not having the type or size of impact they would like, then they may need to re-evaluate their approach. Measuring impact can help ERGs to identify areas for improvement and to focus on tasks that drive measurable change. It can also provide ERG leaders with data to support their efforts and make a case for support to the wider business.
Challenges to Measuring ERG Impact
So why is it hard to measure the impact of ERG activities? The definitions of success can be hard to align. And in terms of data, there are qualitative data around how events made people feel as well as quantitative data around the diversity of ERG attendance. ERGs may not have access to the right data or resources to measure impact effectively. They might also lack the skills, tools or time to measure impact and link this back to the wider business strategy.
Best Practices to Enhance Impact
Despite these challenges, there are lots of ways that ERGs can enhance impact and measure it effectively. Here are some ideas:
- Ensure the network has a clear strategy and purpose. Members and stakeholders should be able to articulate the links between the ERG, the wider business and EDI strategy.
- Link each activity with a qualitative and quantitative measure of success. Examples include the active participation of a more diverse group of members or collaborative events between multiple networks.
- Distinguish between diversity measures, inclusion measures and measures that are linked to the achievement of business outcomes.
- Improve visibility by telling stakeholders about the impact of ERG activities. Storytelling and testimonials help to humanise what ERGs do.
- Take an agile approach to understanding impact. Seek feedback from members and stakeholders to improve activities and learn lessons for the future.
Organisations are often keen to understand the impact ERGs have on employee wellbeing as well as the role they play in creating more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces. Taking a systematic approach will help ERG leaders measure and communicate their impact to a wide set of stakeholders. More importantly, focusing on the impact of activities can reduce overwhelm for busy ERG committee members with multiple roles. It will also give them a sense of pride in knowing their efforts are having a positive and meaningful impact on the lives of their colleagues and the culture of their organisation.
Check out the video example below from Ngoc-Vu Nguyen Senior Vice President; D&I Consultant at Bank of America.