Employee resource groups (ERGs) (sometimes called business resource groups or BRGs) are voluntary collectives led by employees, and generally supported formally by the organization and its leadership. ERGs can be organized around any issue, topic, or identifier—the most common are related to diversity and inclusion efforts. Regardless of the specific focus of the ERG, the goals are pretty universal: facilitate networking and professional development, create a more inclusive workplace, and positively impact the organizational culture and employee experience. Organizations could have one ERG or dozens, depending on the size of the workforce and the interests of the employees.
Even if your organization has only one ERG—or maybe you’re still in the process of founding your first—there’s a valuable place for ERGs in your virtual recruiting event strategy. We’ve mentioned before that ERGs can support your talent acquisition goals, and this article will dive deeper into how to use these virtual event ideas to boost your recruiting results.
How ERGs Benefit Talent Acquisition
There are loads of reasons to involve your ERGs in your virtual recruiting events and we couldn’t possibly cover them all in a single blog post. We’ll hit the highlights and it will soon become clear how valuable a resource these groups can be.
Hosting ERG-focused events demonstrates your commitment to diversity and inclusion, something today’s job seekers hold in high regard. Centering ERGs also strengthens your employer brand, by helping tell the story of your organization’s culture and values. Featuring ERGs in virtual recruiting events puts their voices center stage and improves visibility for employees. Hearing directly from real employees gives candidates a glimpse at what working at your organization is really like, which helps them envision themselves as part of your team. (Bonus: Access to these kinds of behind-the-scenes insights may also help boost candidate engagement and reduce candidate ghosting.)
Putting the spotlight on ERGs also builds trust with job seekers through transparency and authenticity. Past research has confirmed what common sense tells us: job seekers are more likely to trust stories from your employees than sales pitches from recruiters and managers. Because of this, allowing job seekers to engage directly with ERGs during virtual recruiting events can lead to a more positive candidate experience overall.
Types of Virtual Recruiting Events with ERGs
Just like any type of virtual recruiting event, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Here are some of the most common ERG virtual recruiting events our customers are hosting. As you’ll notice, none of these events include interview sessions. While recruiters can certainly attend and help facilitate these events, it’s generally more effective if your ERG-focused events are separate from your job fairs and career fairs.
ERG Fair: This type of event is similar to a multi-employer job fair, but with different ERGs instead of employers. You’d host a single event with a booth for each ERG where job seekers can engage, ask questions, and learn about what each ERG does. As a bonus, ERG members can add video presentations and other resources to help orient job seekers to their mission and inspire curiosity about your corporate culture.
Topic-oriented: One of the event types we’ve seen skyrocket in popularity over the past two years is the informational event, and ERGs are especially well-suited for panel discussions around a timely subject that impacts members of the community in question, whether that’s Black engineers, working parents with ADHD, or LGBTQIA+. Your event might center on social, legal, or community issues, or simply on the key challenges of working in a particular industry or role. (Hint: Consult your ERGs for suggestions before deciding on a topic. More on that later.)
General Q&A: This can be a more casual, free-form event if you desire. In a Q&A event, ERG members respond to FAQs and invite candidates to submit live questions on things that matters to them, from career advice to the benefits of membership. These events can include break-out sessions or even one-on-one follow-up conversations on the virtual event platform, if that serves your audience.
How to Prepare for an ERG Virtual Event
When you’re getting ready for a virtual career fair, you'll likely have a strategy to prepare hiring managers and ensure they feel supported before and during the event. Be sure to give ERG members the same attention. Train ERG members on the virtual event platform in advance and create a lifeline (i.e. a Slack channel or Zoom room manned by TA team members) in case any problems or questions arise during the event.
Include ERG members in planning the focus and content of each event. Members of your ERGs will have the best ideas about what topics and formats will be effective with the types of job seekers you’re hoping to engage with, and collaborating with your ERG also helps support their mission and broader objectives. Empowering them with ownership of their part in the talent acquisition strategy and prioritizing their ideas and concerns shows them how much you value their work.
As with all your virtual recruiting events, promote upcoming events through all communication channels (text, email, social, careers hub, job postings, etc). For individual communications, avoid the urge to divide your talent database. Instead, invite all job seekers to all ERG events to create an inclusive environment. You don’t want to make any assumptions about the interests or identities of job seekers, no matter how much information they’ve supplied.
Expanding the Reach of Your Virtual Recruiting Strategy
Hosting virtual recruiting events with your ERGs can help you attract new job seekers and tap into underutilized talent markets. The benefits of ERGs also include improving candidate experience, boosting candidate engagement, and potentially leading to better hires. Meanwhile, engaging ERGs in your virtual recruiting strategy also benefits the members of those groups—by acting as a vote of confidence and showing your organization's appreciation for diversity. The benefits of ERGs are many, and we can’t think of a single reason not to host virtual recruiting events with your employee resource groups. So if you haven't already, it's about time you get started with yours.
Like this post? Try these!
- How to Improve Candidate Experience in Recruitment: A Master Guide
- How to Source Diverse Talent
- The Ultimate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Toolkit