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Understanding the Implementation and Impact of Employee Resource Groups

When designed and implemented effectively, employee resource groups (ERGs) can be leveraged to serve business goals while also improving employee performance and retention. As a key component of a wider DEI strategy, ERGs can help develop and deepen DEI efforts across your credit union.

Executive Summary

Following Filene’s first system-wide survey on credit union diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies and practices in 2021, we learned that diversity within credit union staff was important, but even more important was what credit unions do with that diversity. We found that 15% of respondents had some sort of employee affinity, network, or employee resource group (ERG). At the same time, we received many inquiries from credit union leaders looking for insights on how to launch a successful ERG program.

As credit union leaders work to create and maintain diverse, equitable and inclusive work environments, employee groups have been increasingly considered a potential best practice. Originally designed as a source of support and advice to inform leaders of the challenges their employees face, employee groups have evolved over time. While many have discussed the potential impact of employee groups on employees and the organization, little research has examined such impact. For this report, we interviewed credit union system leaders to explore the operations of ERGs within the credit union industry and offer a richer understanding of how such groups can be leveraged to drive organizational mission, values and objectives.

Why it matters—a credit union perspective

As financial cooperatives with a mission of “people helping people,” we believe our employees’ different cultures, lifestyles, and perspectives collectively strengthen our entire organization. ERGs offer employees opportunities to build a network of support, act on strategic priorities, and celebrate diversity. ERGs can have a leading role in designing and implementing all of our DEI initiatives.

There may not be one single best approach, but this work uncovers strategies to help inform ERG design in a manner that aligns with a credit union’s mission and positively impacts the employee experience. From talent development and engagement programs to corporate social responsibility, these research findings and insights on DEI as well as belonging bring new perspectives and fresh ideas.

Download this report today to implement successful and sustainable ERGs.

Filene’s Center for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is generously funded by:

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