Diversity & Inclusion departments play a crucial role in large companies to help design policies that reinforce diversity in the workplace, address any form of harassment, and protect minority groups. This department is also responsible for Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). ERGs are an important part of company culture whose objective is building a community within the corporate community itself. In addition, ERGs contribute to the personal and professional development of employees. For Aubrey Weatherston, Event Manager at Societe Generale, ERGs are a must. “Having a strong Diversity & Inclusion program should be the standard and it is a priority for us.”
Most Fortune 500 companies have many ERGs for employees to choose from. They can join groups based on their ethnic backgrounds such as Asians, Africans, Indians or Hispanics or even groups based on sexual orientation, keeping them active and engaged within your company. With several groups active within an organization, there are hundreds of events, of every size and format, being held each year. Here are some tips for managing your Employee Resource Group events.
ERG Event Management Tips
Involve Your Executive Sponsor
Be sure to include your ERG Executive Sponsor in the design of all your events. Their participation in large important events is a must. As a sponsor, not only are they actively participating in employee ERGs, but they also can answer questions on what’s going on upstairs and address other concerns. They play a crucial role in sharing the overall company strategy and the Diversity & Inclusion department’s objectives, which tend to evolve from time to time. In addition, they are your gateway into the executive community, especially if the sponsor is an SVP. If you’d like to learn more about finding an Executive Sponsor, check out this white paper on finding an ERG Executive Sponsor.
Centralize Your Data
Centralizing your attendees’ list is the most important part of organizing ERG events. Your events will appeal not only to ERG members, but also other employees. In time, your ERGs will grow bigger and bigger and you’ll need to ensure your attendee lists and data are secure and can be found in one spot. Use an EMS to keep your event data clean; you’ll save time and money.
Break down your attendees into groups. Here are a couple of examples of groups:
- Committee members
- Members (your core audience)
- Non active members (your extended audience)
Organize Your Team
When managing smaller events such as those organized for ERGs, you’ll want to be as structured as possible because things tend to slip between the cracks. Assign a role to every person that is part of the organizing team. To ensure everything that needs to be done gets done, create a to-do list with every specific task that needs to be completed, from sending out an invite, to calling the caterer for your finger foods. Assign each task to a specific member of your organizational team. There are many things to handle when organizing an event, so responsibility and accountability are key to creating a successful event.
Market Your Event
Event marketing goes beyond a simple email invitation. Build a website to share important information about your event. It’ll be faster than adding it into your intranet, trust us. Make sure you add a tab to directly access your registration page. In addition, start planning content to promote your event on your company’s social media account (if it’s a B2B external event) and for your intranet. What about creating a tagline? Brainstorm great arguments in addition to your tagline that you can add to your marketing emails to increase the number of registrations.
A successful event is usually measured by the overall turnout (we’ll talk more about that later). Event marketing is the key to reducing your no-shows. Thankfully you can automate most of your event marketing. Use your EMS to send out your save the dates, invitations, email confirmations, registration reminders (for those who haven’t RSVPed), and also other event information including event date reminders. Why not share your event on your intranet and include a link to register to your event in other emails sent to internal distribution lists.
Bonus: If you’re using a virtual and hybrid event management platform like Eventdrive, you can use your event and email templates to streamline your event marketing. Why start from scratch when you can build perfect event models to choose from to launch your event website in record time. Confirmation email? No problem! Save the date? Already done! Work smarter, not harder.
Engage Your Audience
If you are already using event technology that includes interactive features, be sure you use them to engage your attendees as much as possible. This is the best way to ensure key messages are not only being shared but understood. People tend to learn better by doing, especially when you have peaked their interest and they’re all in. Now is the time to launch a poll, quiz your audience on important parts of your event, and group important questions that can be answered in your Q&A. Check out this article on 4 ways to increase interactivity at your virtual and hybrid events.
Integrate Your Brand
Never forget that your ERG events are made possible thanks to your company. Corporate events are an important part of your company’s communication strategy and communication is synonymous with brand identity. Your brand should be everywhere, from your event swag to your event website. Brand your entire event! Don’t forget to ensure that your virtual event space is exemplary of your company’s image so that your ERG events are just next to your company logo.
Create an Immersive Participant Experience
Although branding is an important part of the participant experience, it’s not everything. The participant experience starts with your invitation, ends with your survey (although this is debatable), and includes tons of touch points in between. When designing your event, aim for an immersive participant experience, which will allow you to capture your attendees’ attention and fully engage your audience. ERG events often cover important topics that require your attendees to be fully focused. Your virtual event space should have everything they need to actively participate in your event, from the design of your live stream website to the interactive features.
The quality of your video stream contributes to a positive participant experience. You’ll want to make sure your speakers participating remotely are using the latest version of a strong browser like Google Chrome. Their video stream and screen sharing will be optimized for everyone tuning into your event. Check out these tips to optimize your event live streams.
Measure Your Success
Lastly, you’ll want to reap the benefits of your hard work. Claiming your event was a success is great, but having actionable data to show your Diversity & Inclusion Director is better. Make sure you are measuring the right KPIs for virtual & hybrid events. Virtual and hybrid event KPIs differ from those traditionally used for physical events. Don’t forget to send out a survey asking your participants to evaluate their experience.
You can also go above and beyond the insights collected for one event and analyze your event data at an organizational or business unit level. In one spot, you can see the overall performance of your ERG events to make end of year reporting and budget management easier.
Of course, most of these principles can be applied to other corporate events. However, it’s important to reinforce important aspects of the event management value chain so that all your corporate events are exceptional, even smaller events created by your ERGs.
We will update this article with event ideas for different types of Employee Resource Groups. Check out these other articles for more information on ERG events: