Tuesday, February 16, 2016

What are ERGs?

If you don't know, it's time to find the answer because they are influencing individuals, teams, leaders and other stakeholders to make big differences in innovation, growth, talent management and the future.  

We are counting down the days to the 2016 Employee Resource Group (ERG) Leadership Summit that is being held at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation March 8 - 9, 2016.

To get ready for the program, I have had several conversations with the experts who are presenting at the event. I also have spent quite a bit of time talking to a lot of people who have never heard of ERGs and wonder why they should care. In fact, there are a lot of individuals who have no idea what ERGs are -even in companies that have ERGs. This is a fascinating fact because ERGs have been in existence in various forms since the 1960s. Starting out as part of a national effort to quell racial tensions, the early caucuses transformed into affinity groups and later to employee resource groups (ERGs). Today we see them continuing to evolve, with some businesses calling them business resource groups because they are indeed focused on providing resources to members and the business.

ERGs are marching forward and supporting business agendas for growth. They are innovating, creating, teaching and building trust. There's a lot to learn from ERGs, but unfortunately you will not find that knowledge in a book. There is simply not much written about these organizations and how they work. So we're learning from each other - in person and live - the old fashion way.  

McKesson is going to talk about their experiences in transforming the structure of their ERGs to drive more results in their global business. Steven Rice, the CHRO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has a unique take on ERGs having worked with them in several organizations over his career. He and I had a very interesting conversation about where ERGs are going and how they can help companies of any size.

Do you know Gordy Graham? Gordy's message about inclusion is a unique one, and his journey from prisoner  to escape artist and then to change management guru will shed light on how the work of ERGs can be thought about in very different lights. How can all of us use our lives to help influence and make change to individuals and groups who are not getting the assistance they need?

We're learning about how people, working together, can influence the business in a positive way.Senior executives from Lenovo and Motorola are going to talk about how they are working with their ERGs to help build a new business together. Speakers from Paramount Pictures and Blue Shield are contributing their experiences to the base of knowledge.

Remember show and tell? Our participants learn a lot by doing the same activity; they bring examples of their work and share it with their peers. They walk around, ask questions, and learn.  

Our sponsors, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, AT&T, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Blue of California and Novo Nordisk are helping make the event useful to every single participant. I invite you to join the learning and help us take ERGs to the next level.  


1 comment:

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