How BRGs Can Benefit Your Organization

By The Intersect Group

Have you heard of Business Resource Groups (BRGs)? No? A BRG – sometimes also referred to as an Employee Resource Group, or ERG – is a “voluntary, employee-led group that fosters a diverse, inclusive workplace” while still maintaining alignment with an organization’s goals, mission, objectives, etc.

BRGs pretty much started as ERG but have since evolved a bit. They are often created with a clear business objective, which helps the company recruit, retain, and even do business with a more diverse demographic.

A BRG often is formed around women, parents, people of color, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, and even veterans.

They started as social groups, meeting informally at a company.

But they have transformed into groups that focus on employee growth via career development, networking, and mentoring.


Starting a BRG at your company can support your diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts

Here’s how.

  • Members of your company’s BRGs often are active in their community: they, therefore, can help identify diverse talent with high potential, either outside or – and in particular – within your company now.
  • HR can participate in other businesses’ BRG networking events, lunch and learn programs, and conferences.
  • Internally, a BRG serves to give diverse employees a chance to learn from each other, serving to help individuals from different departments – and different backgrounds – to work together to help your company meet strategic business goals and overcome challenges.
  • Recruiters at many Fortune 500 companies use the fact that the business has BRGs to recruit more diverse employees.


An active BRG can help retain top diverse talent

Another benefit of BRGs is that they often help your diverse talent grow their business savvy, leadership skills, and executive presence.

It’s much harder to leave an employer who has helped you grow – often by promoting you – in your career, so folks who have benefited directly from your BRGs tend to stick around.

In fact, “Ninety percent of companies identify that ERG/[BRG] members helped new employees to become comfortable during the onboarding process.” The first 60-90 days of a new hire’s employment with you is critical to their ultimate tenure. Having someone like them who can help them through the first few months – often particularly challenging for members of underrepresented groups – can help them feel that your business is a good fit.


The Best BRGs are at least partially funded by the company

A robust BRG brings in speakers, offers training opportunities, allows its members to attend BRG conferences, etc. And, while it may ask members to pay dues, many corporations – seeing the great value of a well-run BRG – often provide a “department” budget specifically for BRG’s costs.

And if your company does so, it’s perfectly OK – even wise – to ask BRG leadership in return to provide the company with an annual strategy. (Some companies make this a pre-requisite for BRG funding.)

For example, you could specifically ask the BRG in its strategy to delineate its intention regarding helping with DEI at your company. Perhaps it could specifically help with increasing the demographics (age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and race) of your recruiting efforts, those you eventually hire, and retention of diverse employees.

In addition, a Society of Human Resource Professionals report in 2016 found that up to 70 percent of companies “relied” on their BRG to hire employees who represented the demographics of their client base.

Does your company have an active ERG/BRG? Have you been utilizing it to help you in your DEI hiring efforts? What’s been the result?