ERGs: Creating an Inclusive Strategy

ERGs: Creating an Inclusive Strategy

A best practice of any organization committed to employee engagement is to offer their employees membership in Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are groups organized and led by employees who share interests, issues, and a common bond or background. They create an open forum for staff to meet and support one another.

MIT’s Human Resources has supported ERGs for over four years, and it is a critical element of our diversity & inclusion strategy for employees. We know that ERGs:

  • Reduce isolation of employees
  • Increase engagement of employees
  • Enhance the culture of an organization by building a stronger community

ERGs adhere to MIT’s policies and procedures and promote diversity, openness, understanding, and inclusiveness. Members of the ERGs work together to create a positive work environment by actively contributing to the Institute’s mission and to efforts specific to inclusion, such as recruitment and retention. One of our guiding principles is that ERGs are open to all MIT employees. One does not have to share the identity of the group to participate. In fact, there is significant cross-collaboration among ERGs, resulting in an enriched educational and cultural exchange.

Benefits to Employees

There are benefits to individuals who participate in the ERGs. Professional development has been a key component of ERG programming. Topics have covered personal branding, self-efficacy, and advocacy. In addition, sessions on interviewing skills, performance development, and conflict resolution have provided participants with on-the-job understanding and skills.

The ERGs also offer an opportunity for individuals to enhance their own competencies that are transferable to the work environment, including interpersonal and organizational understanding, communication skills, collaboration, leadership skills, and the ability to influence. In addition, the groups provide networking and informal mentoring opportunities.

Benefits to MIT

By building a stronger community through ERGs, MIT benefits as an organization overall. Through MIT’s distributed leadership model, ERGs serve as a resource to MIT leadership regarding staff/community issues, needs, and policies. The groups support MIT’s efforts in recruitment and retention by participating in job fairs and networking to build a pipeline for staff positions at MIT; supporting Institute-wide initiatives such as dialogue sessions; providing input on strategic planning processes and talent management; and offering a voice to ensure equity and fairness in MIT benefits and policies.

What can I do?

As an Individual As a Manager
Get involved! Get involved! ERGs are for managers too.
Talk with an ERG member. Review steps for Creating an Inclusive Environment.
Educate yourself. Consider participating in a group that you want to learn about. Facilitate the participation of your employees in a fair and equitable manner.

Where can I learn more?

The ERGs have become a fabric within the MIT community. Our seven ERGs are as follows:

  • African, Black, American, Caribbean
  • Asian Pacific American
  • Disabilities
  • Latino
  • Millennials
  • Women in Technology