In today’s workforce, Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are crucial for fostering diversity, inclusion, and employee engagement. A successful ERG provides support, connection, and growth opportunities for its members while also building corporate culture and competencies. With the shift to virtual work environments, creative ERG event ideas have become even more essential.
In this article, we’ll explore what an ERG is and share a range of creative and virtual event ideas tailored for ERGs. Plus, find tips on implementation, tools, mentoring, and platforms to make your ERG a resounding success.
Whether you’re an ERG leader or an organizational decision-maker, this article will offer insights and actionable inspiration for your journey toward a more inclusive and connected workplace.
Keep reading for employee resource group event ideas and more – including:
- Unique ideas for various types of Employee Resource Groups, including women’s ERG event ideas, Black ERG event ideas, LGBTQ+ ERG event ideas, Asian ERG event ideas, and virtual ERG event ideas
- 5 creative employee resource group event ideas
- 5 innovative virtual ERG event ideas
- Best practices for implementing ERG activities
In this post, you’ll find:
- What is an ERG?
- ERG activities great for a plethora of employee groups
- Actionable ERG suggestions for diverse companies seeking to support their employees
- ERG event best practices for in-person, hybrid, and remote teams
- Engaging ERG ideas to boost company morale and enhance employee experience
What is an Employee Resource Group?
An Employee Resource Group (ERG) is a company-sanctioned, employee-led organization that unites individuals with shared characteristics or backgrounds, often from underrepresented groups. These groups have evolved since emerging in the 1960s and 1970s, stemming from the Civil Rights and women’s rights movements. ERGs serve various purposes in today’s businesses, including employee support, professional development, advocacy, and education. In addition, successful ERGs can boost company recruitment and retention and positively impact business outcomes.
ERGs also significantly contribute to promoting DEI in the workplace. They create a sense of community and belonging for members. Plus, groups can offer mentoring and skill-building opportunities and advocate for policy changes that boost inclusivity. As a result, ERGs drive change within organizations, leading to more equitable practices in hiring, promotion, and decision-making. Additionally, they foster allyship and bridge-building between different employee communities. Ultimately, this helps companies create more inclusive and equitable workplaces that benefit employees and the organization as a whole.
Types of ERGs
The most common types of ERGs found at companies today include:
- Women’s ERGs: Women’s ERGs focus on issues and concerns of women in the workplace. Their primary goals are to advance gender equity and support the career development of women. They may organize mentoring programs, workshops on leadership and negotiation, and events promoting women’s empowerment and networking.
- Ethnic/Cultural ERGs: These groups represent various ethnic or cultural backgrounds, such as African American, Hispanic, Asian, or Indigenous communities. The primary goals are to celebrate and raise awareness of diverse cultures and advocate for equal opportunities for their respective communities. Cultural celebrations, educational events, workshops on cultural competency, and community outreach activities are common.
- LGBTQ+ ERGs: LGBTQ+ ERGs are focused on supporting LGBTQ+ employees and allies. Their primary goals are to create an inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ individuals and advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and issues. Pride events, awareness campaigns, ally training, and advocacy for inclusive policies and benefits are often organized.
- Disability ERGs: These groups represent employees with various disabilities. Their primary goals are to advocate for accessibility, raise awareness about disability issues, and provide support for disabled employees. Accessibility audits, disability awareness workshops, and advocacy for accommodations and inclusive practices are common activities.
- Young Professional ERGs: These groups cater to early-career employees or recent graduates. Their primary goal is to provide networking, professional development, and mentorship. Groups often organize meet-up events, skill-building workshops, and mentoring or buddy programs.
Different ERGs may require varying types of events to engage members due to the unique needs and interests of each group. While some ERGs may concentrate on awareness and advocacy, others might prioritize professional development and mentoring. Tailoring activities to the unique needs and preferences of each ERG ensures a stronger sense of belonging, engagement, and empowerment among members.
5 Creative Employee Resource Group Event Ideas
1. Networking Retreats
Organize a weekend retreat in a scenic location, allowing ERG members to connect in a relaxed atmosphere. Strengthen relationships, foster camaraderie, and enhance professional networks within the ERG with this idea. ERG members can build lasting connections, share experiences, and gain valuable insights. Additionally, these events promote healthy employee engagement and collaboration for the organization.
Tailor retreats to specific ERG themes or interests, such as leadership development for women in a Women’s ERG or cultural immersion for a Diversity ERG.
2. Community Service Days
Host a day dedicated to community service where ERG members volunteer for local nonprofits. This event type encourages social responsibility, team-building, and community engagement. ERG members can experience a sense of purpose while the organization demonstrates its commitment to social causes through volunteering. Plus, the community benefits from the collective effort.
Customize service projects to align with the interests or causes supported by ERGs, like environmental conservation for a Sustainability ERG. Deepen the experience by having lunch together during your project and hosting a debrief session afterward.
3. Diversity and Inclusion Workshops
Conduct interactive workshops or seminars on DEI-related topics. This will enhance understanding, promote inclusivity, and equip ERG members with valuable knowledge and skills. Through workshops, ERG members gain insights and tools to foster inclusion in the workplace. In addition, this is an avenue for the organization to reinforce its commitment to diversity.
Customize workshop content to address the unique challenges or concerns of each ERG, such as gender equity or LGBTQ+ inclusion.
4. Speaker Series
Invite influential speakers or leaders to address ERG members on topics related to their specific ERG. The primary goal of this activity is to provide inspiration, education, and employee mentoring to ERG members. Through a speaker panel or lunch and learn, ERG members can receive valuable insights and guidance.
Speakers might include external guests, community leaders, or topic experts. On the other hand, group members may want to take turns speaking on a topic they are passionate about!
5. Cultural Exchange Fair
Host a cultural fair for ERG members to share their cultural heritage, traditions, and cuisine. You’ll promote cross-cultural understanding, celebrate diversity, and foster a sense of belonging among employees.This activity gives ERG members a platform to share their cultural pride. In addition, the organization can reinforce its culture of inclusivity and appreciation for diversity.
Encourage different ERGs to collaborate and showcase their cultural aspects, or organize separate fairs for various cultural ERGs to spotlight specific groups.
5 Innovative Virtual ERG Event Ideas
1. Book a Virtual Session Aligned with Your ERG’s Interests & Goals
Unexpected Virtual Tours & Training offers top-rated team building and DEI training programs. Loved by teams at Google, The Home Depot, Salesforce, and other companies, our events are designed to be engaging for corporate teams. No eye-rolling or yawns – just fun, fast-paced learning paired with games, hands-on activities, and virtual tours – all led by live, expert guides!
A few of our virtual team building and DEI training topics include:
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- Black History Month
- Women’s History
- AAPI Heritage Month
- Pride Month
- Hispanic Heritage Month
- Indigenous and Native American Heritage Month
- South America Virtual Tour
Connect with Unexpected Virtual Tours & Training to find the perfect opportunity for your team.
2. Virtual Coffee Break Roulette
Host a virtual coffee break where team members are randomly paired for short, informal chats. Foster spontaneous interactions, enhance team cohesion, and combat isolation in remote work settings with this activity. This idea recreates the casual office interactions that build rapport. When remote teams can maintain social connections, improved overall team performance and job satisfaction often follows.
3. Online Escape Room Challenge
Another idea: organize a virtual escape room challenge where remote teams work together to solve puzzles. Through this event, promote teamwork, problem-solving, and effective communication. This idea not only encourages collaboration but also provides an engaging and entertaining experience. It can also help in team building and improving critical thinking skills.
4. Virtual Talent Show
Host a talent show where team members can showcase their unique skills and hobbies via video. Encourage self-expression, celebrate diversity, and strengthen team bonds by appreciating each other’s talents. This event idea brings a sense of personal connection to remote teams, showcasing the multifaceted nature of team members beyond work tasks.
5. Virtual Office Tour and Show-and-Tell
In this activity, team members take turns giving virtual tours of their home offices. This virtual event idea allows coworkers to gain insights into colleagues’ work environments and humanize fellow remote team members. It also creates empathy and understanding among remote team members, resulting in a greater sense of connectedness.
Best Practices for Implementing ERG Activities
Creating inclusive events that respect and celebrate the diversity of ERG members is crucial for advancing DEI within an organization. Read on to explore tips that can lead to a better ERG event.
Cater to Diverse Employee Needs
Understanding diverse employee preferences is crucial for fostering an inclusive workplace. Surveys can help gauge employee expectations for ERG events, leading to more impactful sessions that resonate with team members.
Embrace Technological Advancements
Technological trends like virtual reality and augmented reality can significantly impact ERG events. They not only enhance accessibility by reaching a broader audience but also make events more engaging and interactive. Plus, these resources allow for global collaboration, engaging employees to participate from any location.
Prioritize Social and Environmental Commitments
Aligning ERG events with societal values and sustainability goals is additionally important. By supporting local communities through events and adopting eco-friendly practices, organizations not only strengthen relationships but also set an example for sustainable practices.
Effective Communication & Feedback Mechanisms
Clear communication before, during, and after ERG events is vital. It ensures participants are well-informed and engaged. Collecting feedback post-event is key for ongoing improvement. This not only demonstrates an organization’s commitment to enhancing future events but also the value of employee input.
Take the Leap: Amplify ERG Engagement in 2024!
In conclusion, diversifying your ERG events is a powerful strategy for cultivating a workforce that champions ERG participation. Throughout this blog, we’ve defined and listed examples of popular ERG groups in today’s workforce. We also shared ten creative and innovative ERG events for in-person and remote teams and best practices to follow when planning and hosting ERG events at your own company!
For organizations looking to invest further in ERG initiatives, Unexpected Virtual Tours & Training is proud to offer a variety of top-rated DEI activities. Led by knowledgable and weloming live guides, our DEI training sessions immerse participants in learning, fun activities, collaborative exercises, and more. Loved by teams at Google, UPS, The Coca-Cola Company, and Salesforce, see why we have a 5-star rating on Google, with over 1,700 reviews!
For more ways to grow your company’s ERGs, check out our guides for creating a Black Employee Resource Group and specific group resources such as virtual Black history month ideas or Hispanic Heritage Month activities.
Connect with us to learn more and find the perfect opportunity for your team.