The 10 biggest ERG challenges
(And how to solve them)

This article was first published in’s Talent Acquisition Excellence ePublication, October 19, 2022.


Today’s workplace is evolving —people are searching for inclusive communities where everyone can connect, belong, thrive, learn and take action on what matters to them.

Employee resource groups (or ERGs) exist at 90% of Fortune 500 companies, according to a Bentley University report, and can bring employees with shared goals or life experiences closer together to create a culture of belonging. ERGs often help companies and their people inform their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategies and answer the questions, “Who do we want to be?” and “How do we get there?”

According to McKinsey & Company, 51% of people surveyed said they quit their jobs because they didn’t feel a sense of belonging at work. Harnessing the power of ERGs can help create that sense of belonging and result in a more united workplace with higher retention rates and more engaged employees. But these passionate groups often face common obstacles and need your organization’s support and resources to overcome these challenges and flourish.

The 10 biggest challenges

While ERGs have evolved from a side hustle of passionate volunteers to better-organized programs with budgets and incentives, they still face significant challenges to achieve their full potential and make an impact on company culture. Here are 10 common problems:

  1. ERG leads don’t have administrative support
    If your ERG leads are feeling overwhelmed, they’re not alone. While ERGs get credit for higher recruitment and retention levels, they often lack the day-to-day and administrative support they need to achieve those goals.

  2. Your ERGs don’t have a central hub
    It’s hard to organize and mobilize when your groups don’t have a home. As a result, recruitment, discussion and action are fragmented across productivity tools, intranets and messaging platforms, leading to missed opportunities.

  3. There’s no catalog to discover ERGs
    Your employee resource groups can recruit more members if they have the right tools. Do your people know what ERGs are available to them? Do they know where to find them?

  4. ERG members aren’t engaged
    It can be tough to keep ERG members engaged when there’s no centralized gathering place for them to participate in discussions, offer feedback and learn about events.

  5. There’s little or no reporting
    What are your ERG stats for participation, engagement and impact? Manually measuring and reporting means your ERGs lack the robust intelligence required to inform their program — or to show how it’s contributing to the company’s objectives and bottom line.

  6. ERG members can’t access resources
    Knowledge is power, especially where social justice issues are concerned. Many ERGs dedicated to DEI lack a central place to distribute, promote and host educational resources.

  7. Event management is a mess
    When ERG event management is scattered across email invites, group chats and third-party apps, members miss important context and opportunities for discussion. And ERG leaders are less able to consolidate feedback and gather data.

  8. Leaders don’t have ERG-specific tools
    Without proper administrative tools, ERG leaders must spend more time on day-to-day activities, leaving less time to focus on strategy. They struggle with the inefficiencies associated with communication tools and calendars that aren’t built for employee resource groups.

  9. Employees don’t feel safe sharing
    When your people don’t trust that your ERGs are safe spaces to speak without repercussions, they don’t talk about the topics that are important to them, and you’re unable to identify the real issues.

  10. ERG and CSR teams aren’t on the same page
    Even when ERG, DEI and CSR or corporate social responsibility teams collaborate, they lack unified tools for participation, administration and reporting. This results in unidentified issues, unmet needs and unrealized opportunities for change.


How ERG software can help

If you and your organization identify with the challenges detailed above, you’ll be happy to know there’s a solution. Adopting the right ERG software can alleviate these problems, bolster your company’s commitment to an ERG strategy and, ultimately, maximize your ERGs’ impact. The right software can:

Centralize your company’s ERGs
For ERGs to create lasting cultural change, they need to build communities with strong foundations. It’s easier to build these communities when ERGs operate from a dedicated space that facilitates discovery and engagement.

Using that space, ERG leaders can access membership information, monitor participation, identify trending issues, spark discussion and organize events. Members will have a one-stop shop for “everything ERG,” where they can converse privately in a safe space and access educational resources.

Adopt a purpose-built solution
Your sales team has customer relationship management technology. Your recruitment team has a talent management system. Your accounting team has specialized software. These solutions automate manual tasks, streamline workflows, manage users and provide reports. They’re all built for the needs of a specific business function. Purpose-built ERG software is designed to meet the specific needs of ERGs.

Report on ERG impact
By tracking ERG membership, participation, engagement and event attendance, you can better understand each group’s impact and how well they’re meeting their goals.

By having instant access to on-demand data, you can find insights on tangible metrics like recruitment, retention, promotions and diversity.

By correlating ERG data with CSR program participation, you can get powerful insights into how ERG participation affects giving and volunteering initiatives, informing adjustments to your broader CSR strategy.

Integrate with your CSR program
Progressive companies know that ERGs play an integral part in CSR strategy to increase employee engagement and social impact. So, it’s important that CSR programs align with a company’s DEI and ERG goals.

The activity happening in your ERGs should inform employee engagement programs. This integration ensures that giving and volunteer opportunities resonate with your people, that DEI leadership training is focused on the right issues and that your company can recruit and retain more diverse talent.

The logical connection between an ERG and a CSR program makes it possible to move beyond discussion into action to support the issues important to your people. The benefits are reciprocal, with each program inspired and driven by the other. It makes sense, then, for ERG and CSR software solutions to integrate seamlessly for maximum results.

ERGs and ERG software make good business sense

From educating about racial equity to creating a sense of belonging for LGBTQ+ people to empowering women to become leaders, ERGs create a better company culture for everyone.

So, whether you’re just starting to build your ERG strategy, leading an ERG in your workplace or managing those who do, you can use dedicated ERG software to increase efficiency and impact for your people, company, stakeholders and society as a whole.

With ERG-specific software, your ERGs can grow and scale their efforts, and your company can achieve key strategic goals from recruitment and retention to building a more diverse culture.

Benevity Affinity Groups is designed to support these broader business objectives while helping ERG leaders manage the day-to-day of creating communities of belonging where employees can come together, learn and act on the issues that matter to them. Learn more about Benevity Affinity Groups or if you're ready to talk to us, book a demo.


Author: Chad Neufeld, Product, Benevity
Chad is a part of the product team that brought Benevity’s ERG platform, Affinity Groups, to market. He has spent most of the last 5 years in the world of online communities, supporting DEI, HR and Marketing teams.