Employee Resources Groups (ERGs) go by many different names (i.e., Affinity Groups, Business Resource Groups, Employee Network Groups), but regardless of what they are called, they share a common purpose. Catalyst defines it as “a voluntary, employee-led group that serves as a resource for members and organizations by fostering a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with organizational mission, values, goals, practices, and objectives. Other benefits include the development of future leaders, increased employee engagement, and expanded marketplace reach.”
Knowing where to start and gauging the growth and effectiveness of your ERG can be challenging. This Maturity Model has been developed to provide ERGs with an avenue to measure the progress, engagement, and ROI of their disability-focused ERG as it matures. It can be used as an internal tool for ERGs to assess themselves and/or to help lead discussions with senior leaders and other stakeholders on the value of the ERG to the business.
This is meant to be used as a general guide, understanding that organizations have different company cultures and business needs that may drive the timing of any given initiative. Additionally, some of the ideas may cross over several stages.
The Maturity Model is divided into 5 business categories (ERG Operational, Talent/Employees, Inclusion/Culture, Business Impact, and Community/External Outreach) and 5 growth stages (Foundational, Formalized, Operational, Integrated, and Dynamic). As an ERG is forming and focused on basics such as forming a board, creating a sense of community, or hosting basic awareness events, it is in the Foundational stage. At the formalized stage, a structure is implemented and there are more focused disability inclusion initiatives. When an ERG is at the Operational stage, processes begin to become more standardized so activities can be sustained. During the Integrating stage, an ERG spends more time focused on ensuring what they are doing is aligned with what the business needs and is doing. When an ERG is recognized, valued, and sought after as a fully integrated business partner, they are in the Dynamic stage and even more time is spent engaged with supporting business initiatives.