Does this sound familiar? A group at work gets together based on some common interest, for instance, a Women’s group, Working Parents alliance, or LGBTA ERG. The group wants to organize, educate and petition for changes to workplace policies and procedures that will encourage better inclusion.

So they create a group, and they lobby the company for positive change. Depending on the group’s purview, they might work toward creating new networking opportunities for women, enhancing work/life policies, instituting domestic partner benefits, or including human sexuality topics in the diversity education curriculum. The group manages to win some of these battles. They also encourage organizational support of community activities, such as PRIDE events or women and leadership speaker series, etc. And after three or four years of effort, the people leading the group get bored, or tired, or burned out, or frustrated, or unsure as to what to do next, or they leave, or get promoted and things…just…sort…of…grind…to…a…halt.

We are often asked how to light a fire under a group of people who care deeply but who are finding it hard to get started… or restarted. Our response takes the form of a model called The Employee Progress Paradigm (EPP).

The EPP has four foundational pillars:

  1. Helps the ERG translate its mission statement into clear goals
  2. Enables the ERG to create actionable items from the goal statements
  3. Creates a strategy – with tactics and metrics – for the actionable items to be accomplished within a realistic, and fluid-by-design time-frame
  4. Organizes the ERG into a hierarchy that guarantees no burnout, orderly turn-over of leadership without losing the leaders, and ease of involvement by new people.

Check out this video clip of Liz explaining how the Paradigm works

In addition to Train the Trainer Common Ground can help ERGs

  • Develop Reverse Mentoring and “Coming Out Coaches” programs
  • Keep the business case for LGBTA and Women’s Networks front and center
  • Use ERGs’ prior successes as a launching pad for further progress by helping people stay engaged and involved
  • Keep pace with changes in the organization’s demographics and evolve to remain responsive
  • Reduce women’s isolation in male-majority workplaces or non-heterosexual employee’s isolation in heterosexual-majority workplaces by reducing insider/outsider dynamics
  • Create positive involvements for men in women’s networks and with gender inclusion more generally; as well as positive involvement of allies in LGBTA networks.
  • Promote opportunities for mixed-gender teams, mentoring & networking;
  • Enhance collaboration among networks, as well as with other relevant diversity efforts and general management practices