Business Resource Groups, or BRGs, add a valuable dimension to every organization’s diversity and inclusion initiative. BRGs sponsor programs designed to enhance participant’s skills and ability to thrive and advance the organization’s business objectives.
The earliest kind of BRGs were professional organizations like the American Bankers Association, the American Medical Association and the American Chemical Society. Members had shared cultural characteristics and experiences. They came together seeking support, to talk about their careers and lives – their ambitions and challenges – to keep each other current on developments in their field or industry, to share career strategies, and pass on information about employment and professional development opportunities.
Today, BRGS or ERGs – Employee Resource Groups – are also being formed around shared interests such as environmental advocacy, work-life balance, community service and other topics that align with the company’s inclusion strategy.
These voluntary, company-sponsored, employee-led groups, supported by top leadership, are a great way for employees to get to know one another and be a source of support to those who share a common demographic and/or are interested in strengthening their network.
Some of the benefits of being a member of BRGs:
- You get to interact with people who have a sense of shared experience based on a specific demographic like race, ethnicity, gender, sexual/affectional orientation, military experience, healthy mind-body-spirit practices, and the like.
- You can expand and strengthen your workplace network.
- You can be part of brainstorming about ways you can help strengthen and grow the business from your functional area.
- They allow you to take on a leadership role such as program planning or membership recruitment for the coming year.
- They offer the opportunity to strategically interact with people in a relaxed social setting – people from multiple levels of the hierarchy.
Having been a speaker facilitator for a number of BRG sponsored events; I can tell you that that their focus is on learning, growing and connection. The doors are open to everyone who shares a commitment to fostering inclusion as a key component of business success.
If your company sponsors them, be an active participant. If not, get busy and do the leg work and due diligence required to start one. Lead or join the fun and learn as you meet with like-minded people and build healthy workplace relationships.