DEIB and Diversity Hiring

Centering ERGs in Your Recruiting Events

Jun 13, 2022 - Cat DiStasio

June is Pride Month and corporations around the globe are launching rainbow-hued products and touting visibility and inclusivity on their social media accounts, often while doing little else behind the scenes—or throughout the rest of the year—to support LGBTQIA+ employees and concerns.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s important to authentically elevate your organization's commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month and all the other months. One of the best ways to do this is to actually integrate the voices of your employees into your ongoing hiring process. For example, some organizations connect job seekers with their LGBTQIA+ employee resource groups (ERGs) to host valuable, authentic conversations during virtual recruiting events.

Featuring ERGs in your recruiting events throughout the year celebrates diversity, fosters inclusion, strengthens employer brand, and can help improve recruiting outcomes, specially when it comes to sourcing diverse talent. Creating spaces for employees to speak for themselves—and allowing job seekers the opportunity to hear their stories and ask questions off the record—enables a rich and engaging candidate experience.

Types of ERGs

Employee resources groups come in many different shapes and sizes, and are usually volunteer-based. There are identity or experience groups, often focused on ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or another shared life experience. Some ERGs are affinity-based, where employees come together over a shared interest (these groups are often driven by a social component, such as book clubs or dancing groups). Other ERGs are centered around advocacy and committed to working on a specific cause such as the environment or community issues like food access or affordable housing.

ERGs began in the early 1970s with the founding of the National Black Employee Caucus at Xerox, supported by the CEO at the time. Now, more than 90% of Fortune 500 organizations have ERGs. Amazon, Google, Salesforce, and Uber all have ERGs, just to name a few. At Brazen, our biggest and newest ERG is the Queer Collective, composed of LGBTQIA+ employees and allies. This ERG provides Brazen’s LGBTQIA+ community, allies, and partners with the opportunity to promote, educate, network, learn and share ideas for all. Our culture empowers employees to bring their whole, authentic selves to work every day and is an open and inclusive environment whereby our people support the rights and wellbeing of their LGBTQIA+ colleagues. Lastly, we believe the power of ‘allyship’ is a critical element of LGBTQIA+ diversity.

Examples of How to Include ERGs in Recruiting Events

There are many different ways to spotlight your ERGs in your virtual and in-person recruiting events. TA leaders and recruiters should meet with ERG members to explore their interests, concerns, personal development and professional development goals, as well as comfort levels before planning any ERG-centered recruiting events. After all, the intent is to elevate and amplify how your ERGs are contributing to the organization's overall DEI work.

Recruiting events that feature ERG members are typically informational events, where job seekers can hear from your employees about what it’s actually like working for your organization—and this can happen in a number of ways. You can use broadcast or recorded video features to allow ERGs members to present to event attendees. Group video can be useful for discussion-based events or group Q&A sessions. Features like Brazen's scheduled chat also works well when you want to invite job seekers to engage in 1:1 conversations with ERG members.

No matter what format your events take, the goal is simply to elevate the voice of the employee and inject it into the candidate’s experience. By hosting conversational events that are employee-led and speak to important topics in your corporate environment, you equip job seekers to experience your company culture, see your inclusion and community engagement efforts first hand, and connect with potential colleagues.

Best Practices for Centering ERGs in Recruiting

Here are your most pressing questions answered from Brazen's own Queer Collective President, Manuel Quiros-Parks:

1. What’s the most important thing for a job seeker to know about ERGs at a potential employer organization?

"One of the most important things as a member of a marginalized or minority community is to see if an organization is actively supporting those communities by supporting their employees that identify as such. Look to see if they have any ERGs, what work they do within the organization, how you could possibly get involved, and see if you can speak with a member to see working conditions of that organization," said Quiros-Parks.

2. When you were looking for work, would the option to talk to ERG members have impacted your candidate experience? How so?

"Absolutely! Speaking and knowing the kind of support provided by a company would definitely make me more comfortable with making a decision to join their workforce. There is a certain type of worry that you always carry with how accepting a workplace is going to be, and speaking with a member of an ERG would help ease those worries and help with the decision to join a company."

3. How can TA teams best support ERGs?

"TA teams should support efforts to source and hire a diverse workforce for the organization. The ERGs are a great resource to know how the hiring experience was for a minority group, take feedback on how to reach out to that community or make the hiring process more welcoming and inclusive. TA teams should use ERGs as another resource and reason for a candidate to join an organization," Quiros-Parks said.

Employees are Valuable Resources for Recruiting

Your employee resource groups exist so that employees can pool their power and work together. Integrating ERGs into your recruiting process means they can be a valuable resource for talent acquisition as well—provided that you work to support and elevate the employees who participate in those groups as much as you hope to benefit from them. At the end of the day, if your interest in your organization’s ERGs is authentic and you engage ERG members in helping you design recruiting experiences, everyone can come out ahead.

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