August 25, 2022
How ERGs Can Help Bring Employees Together
When people think about going to work, they often think of completing their assigned tasks and making money. The majority of people spend around 34.4 hours working a week, which, for some people, may even be more time than they spend with their own family. As human beings, we crave connectivity. We desire a support system and companionship even at our place of work. We want to feel valued and cared for, especially in a stressful environment. Whether you are just starting at a new company, an experienced higher-up with years of experience at your company, or an employee working from home, we need to feel connected.
One of the best ways to get involved at work and connect with fellow employees is through Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). No matter your interest or personal experience, there are likely other employees who share similar qualities. Popular ERGs include disability, generational, multicultural, working parents, military service, religion, etc. Through an ERG, you will be able to connect, share, and bond with employees you may not have had the opportunity to work with in the past. You will also be able to see one another as more than employees but as human beings.
3 Ways ERGs Help Employees Feel Connected
1. Onboarding New Employees
One of the hardest and scariest things in one’s professional career is joining a new company. Not only are you being thrown a large onboarding packet, but you are also trying to understand your job role and digest your new environment. It feels as though everyone is friends and knows each other and you are the odd one out. Putting yourself out there and meeting fellow employees for the first time can be daunting. That’s why 90% of companies use ERG members to help onboard new employees. The first 90 days at a new job are crucial. This short time window has been known to determine how likely a new hire is to stay long-term. An ERG can help find someone similar to the new hire and introduce them to the company. That feeling of connection a new hire receives when greeted by a welcoming face can be a differentiating factor. The bonds created when new hires find employees with similar backgrounds and interests will make work feel less foreign and more like home.
2. Connecting Higher-Ups with Employees
Feeling connected at work goes beyond meeting your team. At some point or another, you will likely work with the employees on your team. Job titles can make a huge difference between an authority figure and a friend. While job titles are very important and need to be respected, higher-ups need to be seen as human beings just as much as lower-level employees. If you are in a managerial or executive position, you most likely want your employees to feel comfortable coming to you for concerns, questions, or brainstorming. Until your employees see you as a human being with interests and a life outside of work, there may always be a bit of hesitation. ERGs are a great way for higher-up management to integrate themselves with employees. They will be able to meet the individuals they may not get to work with often and understand them on a deeper level.
3. Remote Work Employees
Remote work or working from home is relatively new. More than ever, remote employees are struggling to meet their fellow employees. In an office environment, meeting other employees can be as easy as walking around the corner and visiting someone’s desk. In a remote environment, communication feels limited. Conversations feel designated for work commentary only. Therefore, remote employees never really get the opportunity to bond with one another. Many ERGs hold virtual meetings and events, allowing those who work remotely to feel connected to others at the company. No matter the distance, time zone, or location, employees are now able to connect over shared life experiences.
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