Investing in employee resource groups (ERGs) is a great way to give your employees a voice, for them to meet and connect with others in their organization who have similar purpose and passion and to provide an additional sense of belonging. However, ERGs can also be a tool to help alleviate stress and fear amongst employees during the coronavirus pandemic.
As work has moved remote due to coronavirus, maintaining that sense of connectedness and maintaining ERGs in general may have become a challenge for companies [who have ERGs]. Some may have fallen to the wayside completely, yet as we have come to learn so well over the past few months, the ability for employees to reach out, connect, collaborate and feel heard is more important now than ever. A study focused on the mobilization of ERGs during coronavirus found that twenty-five percent of surveyed ERG Leaders reported their companies ERGs were not being utilized to help either their own employees nor the community. The other seventy-five percent of respondents reported that their companies were tapping into ERGs as a way to help employees in the following ways:
ERGs, which typically have a defined social, professional or attribute-centered purpose, are reportedly being used to help alleviate fear and stress amongst employees during the pandemic. ERGs began sharing general coronavirus information and communications about important changes and updates. They are also being used as another way to check in on employees and get a pulse on how employees are feeling and coping. Using ERGs as an avenue for checking in on the wellbeing of employees also allows for the open discussion of needs and challenges during mandatory work from home policy and statewide shelter in place orders. As per the survey, companies are also tapping into their ERGs who use social media as a way to connect with employees and the community to uplift groups and share helpful resources with the masses. Many ERGs have experienced growth in light of the pandemic. Several ERG Leaders, for example, shared that their parenting ERGs really began to build out during coronavirus. These groups pivoted to the current needs of parents, and began sharing creative and educational activities for parents to do with their children and other helpful support resources and webinars.
If you have’t already, consider tapping into and mobilizing your companies ERGs to support employees during this uncertain time. If no ERGs exist, it may be a great time to learn more about them. Fear continues to escalate from the unknowns associated with the coronavirus, but employees trust their peers, and ERG leaders. ERGs can be a tool to help drive higher levels of coping within an organization. Here, the bottoms-up approach that an ERG provides is a tool that can be leveraged to help those employees who are more isolated, self-quarantined or who are working from home.