Employee resource groups are a great way to build networks within your company and foster a sense of safety and community. Wherever you are in the process – looking to create one, just starting, or looking to keep an existing group going strong – funding your employee resource group is essential.
There’s no formula to determine how much money a given ERG will need. It varies greatly depending on the scope of the group and what it hopes to accomplish. Like every other aspect of maintaining a successful resource group, planning and organization are key.
Why does an ERG need funding?
Some resource groups may be just fine forgoing a budget and relying on volunteer work. However, funding your employee resource group can enable it to take on more ambitious goals.
Having a budget can also allow the group to bring in outside help. Tracking and measuring goals can be difficult, and some groups may wish to utilize services to help with that and other aspects such as advising and planning.
There’s incentive for a company to back these groups financially, as well – it sends the important message that they support diversity and inclusion. Investing in employees creates an environment that people in turn will want to invest their time and energy into.
Executive leadership must be on board with supporting operations for your group to be successful. They should be brought into the fold early on in the group formation process – your ERG might not get very far without top-level backing.
Having an executive sponsor can be a boon in getting the word out about your group and securing financial help. Whether they share the common identity of the group or act in an ally role, they should be dedicated to promoting activities and membership without taking ownership of the group themselves.
Some sponsors will provide assistance from their own budget or convince other executives to join in. Their networking capabilities can help pull together funding from multiple sources.
Whoever is in that sponsor or community manager role should act as a liaison between the group and corporate leadership. Possessing wide credibility and a cross-sectional view of the company helps ensure your ERG is integrated as thoroughly as possible and connected to the right people.
The most important part of funding your employee resource group is organizational support. Ask about how your company handles other groups – subsidies, allowances, and reimbursements are all options that some use. If there’s not a system in place, your executive sponsor can work with leadership to determine the best way to assist your group.
How can Cockerham & Associates help?
We offer an array of services built around maximizing the impact of your resource groups. General consultations, implementation toolkits, plan development, group leader training, executive sponsor coaching and more can help your ERG acquire the resources it needs to thrive.
Our ERG Insight™ technology also aids in keeping the group organized once it’s off the ground. On top of performance monitoring, initiative and event management and more, the platform’s budget management capabilities can ensure your group makes the most of its finances. Check out our website to see how we can support diversity in your company.