Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

erg_logoEmployee Resource Groups (ERGs) are employee-led groups formed around common interests, issues and/or a common bond or background.

ERG members create a positive work environment at MIT by actively contributing to the Institute's mission, values and efforts specific to inclusion, such as recruitment and retention. All of MIT's ERGs are open to any employee.

HR is pleased to sponsor the launch of four Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). See a list of current ERGs and information about forming ERGs at MIT. You can also read the Report on the ERG Pilot Year (below).

ERGs serve a number of purposes

  • They create an open forum for staff who share common interests/concerns to meet and support one another in creatively addressing those concerns and
  • They provide a resource to MIT leadership regarding staff/community issues, needs and policies

What are the Guiding Principles MIT sets for ERGs?

  • All ERGs are open to all employees
  • ERGs promote diversity, openness, understanding and inclusiveness
  • ERG participation by employees is voluntary
  • ERGs adhere to MIT's policies and procedures
  • ERGs strive to provide long-term business benefit to the Institute as well as professional/personal benefit to participants

What’s the difference between an ERG and an Affinity Group?

Employee Resource Group (ERG) and Affinity Group/Network are terms often used interchangeably. For MIT purposes, we defined:

  • ERGs as groups that are formally constituted with mission statements, officers, etc. and that are expected to contribute to the mission of the Institute
  • Affinity Groups as self-organized, informal networks of MIT employees with common identities or interests
    • Both are valuable to MIT as an inclusive workplace

There are a number of different ways MIT employees can form groups to connect with others, including informal social groups, cohort groups for alumni of specific learning programs and ERGs. To learn more, see the Framework for MIT Employee Affiliations (below).

What are the benefits of having ERGs at MIT?

ERGs help to create an inclusive workplace by:

  • Serving as a vehicle for leveraging MIT's distributed leadership model
  • Contributing to an inclusive workplace through recruiting and retention, and by providing an informal welcome to new employees and networking and mentoring opportunities for their members
  • Creating an open forum for staff who share common interests/concerns to meet and support one another
  • Providing a resource to MIT leadership regarding staff/community issues, needs, and policies

What activities have the ERGs hosted?

ERG co-leads participated in a workshop on ERGs at the 2013 Institute Diversity Summit. In addition, activities have included:

  • "Boston's Chinatown: Beyond Stereotypes, Food and Boundaries," a talk by MIT Professor Tunney Lee
  • Happy hour or morning coffee get-togethers
  • Brown-bag lunches on topics such as performance appraisal and career development
  • A discussion with the Dean of MIT's Graduate School about her experiences as an MIT professor and as the Dean for Graduate Education.
  • "Speed Networking Primer," an introduction to different career tracks at MIT
  • "Lessons Learned and Insights Gained: A Discussion of Diversity, Excellence and Institutional Knowledge," a career panel discussion. See some of the Lessons Learned (below)
  • Celebration at Boston Pride, including marching in the annual parade
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