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More about the ERG Movement Model & Assessment

What is The ERG Movement Model?

Created by Maceo Owens, The ERG Movement Model divides the process of ERG program development into three phases: Infancy, Adolescence, and Maturity. Each phase represents a different stage in the life cycle of an ERG program and presents its own unique challenges and opportunities.

What are the phases of The ERG Movement Model?
  • ERGs in Infancy live primarily in Slack channels, with no formal branding or marketing strategy. Groups in this phase track little to no data and are still working to make the business case to upper management. There are no standard processes and no consistent, ERG-led programming.
  • ERGs in Early Adolescence are in the early stages of community building, with a loose mission but no supporting documents. These groups track some data but have no way of reporting on more advanced metrics. They’ve established leadership roles and engaged employees at every corporate level, working with a limited budget but without clear spending guidelines. ERGs are given some responsibility for planning events, but still rely heavily on managers for execution.
  • ERGs in Mid Adolescence have strong brands and effective marketing that are beginning to partner with external organizations. They have clearly identified what success looks like for their group, tracking metrics related to membership and engagement but still looking for a way to measure business impact. ERG leaders have clearly defined goals and are recognized and celebrated by the company. There exist well-documented processes and standard procedures, with a fair and equitable budget. ERGs have a variety of regular events and programming open to all employees.  
  • ERGs in Late Adolescence are seen as a business resource, with business impact driving strategy. They have a strong digital presence throughout company communications. ERG leaders prioritize data in their daily activities and are able to effectively convey ROI to company stakeholders. Since ERG leaders directly impact company success, they are monetarily compensated and/or have exclusive incentives. Processes have been streamlined with the help of supporting tools and integrations, and budgets have steadily increased. These ERGs have been integrated with at least two business units and have robust localized programming that varies in type (i.e. in-person, virtual, hybrid, etc.). Chapters have not been officially established.
  • ERGs in Maturity have a strong and recognizable brand both internally and externally. They have a direct channel to customers and stakeholders and constantly work to better implement business impact into their strategy. Data drives every aspect of decision making, and ERGs track advanced metrics that show how participation affects retention and promotion rates, as well as business objectives. Formal chapters have been created with their own leadership structures and host more relevant localized programs. There are defined and documented processes for day-to-day operations, as well as for working with different business units. ERGs in Maturity are a true business resource, working with all departments and units to make inclusion the standard within the company.
What are the five key performance elements?

The ERG Movement Model is based on 5 key performance elements:

  • People - It’s become increasingly important that ERGs have the right people in the right roles in order to ensure that the group can make the greatest impact. Leaders should come from all areas and levels of the organization, be representative of the community it serves, and have a willingness to put people first. When people are put in the most optimal position for success, and are recognized and rewarded for their contributions, it becomes much easier for the ERG to reach its full potential.
  • Process - Group leaders are doing ERG work on top of their day-jobs, which makes having streamlined processes all the more important. In order to empower leaders to work effectively and autonomously, there must be well-documented SOPs (standard operating procedures) that they can easily locate and follow. Leaders shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to create an expense report or execute an event; everything that they need should be at their fingertips so that they can make the most out of their time.
  • Data - In order to gauge the success of an ERG and to make better decisions about the direction of the groups, leaders should have explicit goals and objectives with trackable KPIs. It’s also important to identify data sources for each of these KPIs (for example, using Zoom analytics to track event attendees). When leaders can easily access data and use that information to inform their next move, their ERGs will be significantly more effective.
  • Output - Too often, ERGs are confined within HR or D&I, lessening the impact that they could have on the organization as a whole. Leaders should lean into the idea of their groups being a business resource, meaning that they are consistently interfacing with all sectors of the business, internally and externally (i.e. product, marketing, corporate social responsibility, etc.). By encouraging these relationships, companies will reap the benefits of having inclusion ingrained in every aspect of their organization.
  • Brand - ERGs should operate like a business, and just like any business, there should be consistent branding associated with it. During the ideation phase of the group, leaders should take the time to create vision, mission, and value statements that are the driving force behind the initiatives that they run and consistent brand guidelines that are representative of both the group itself and the community it serves. A strong and consistent brand will help keep your current members engaged and bought in, while enticing other employees to get involved.

The score on each of these performance elements is used to place the company into a phase between one and five, with phase one signifying the earliest stage and phase five denoting a highly developed and well-functioning ERG. Here at Chezie, we target ERGs in Mid Adolescence, who have set a solid foundation for their ERGs and are ready to leverage the power of tools and platforms.

How does this Assessment work?

The Chezie story begins with software, with a belief that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) can and should be automated, measured, and tracked like other company initiatives. And while that’s still a key part of Chezie’s mission, we quickly realized that we were missing a fundamental piece of the puzzle. We needed a way to understand and classify Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) at every stage, so that we could better serve our clients (after all, we’re not in the business of selling you something that your company doesn’t need or isn’t ready for). 

Introducing The ERG Movement Model Assessment, based on the ERG Movement Model and informed by our own conversations with hundreds of ERG subject matter experts.

Our Assessment is designed to inspire your ERG’s growth, improve your understanding of your ERG’s developmental progress, and give you a roadmap for making inclusion the standard within your organization. This free assessment only takes 10 minutes to complete, and upon doing so you will receive a report with scoring results for each of the performance elements and actionable recommendations for moving forward to the next Phase.

The ERG/D&I space has a problem. It’s largely governed by opinions over facts. Very little shareable data exists in this space. Oftentimes, companies pay to be featured at the top of lists, which doesn’t speak to where they really sit. The use of performance metrics over foundational data has made reliability a problem.

We at Chezie are committed to gathering and disseminating reliable data in a way that’s accessible to everyone. That’s why taking our Assessment is completely free — we want to support you on your journey to improve your workplace without cost being a factor. As more people complete the Assessment, we will continue to refine and improve our approach using insights from the data we collect. It’s only up from here.

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