What is Employee Resource Group (ERG) Software and how it improves employee engagement
In this episode, you'll learn what is employee resource group (ERG) software, why it can improve employee engagement, and when to know it's time to invest. We discuss benefits of ERG software, resource implications, and advice on getting started.
This is part one of our two-part series on employee resource group software.
Watch or listen to part two:
Getting started with employee resource group software in the workplace
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What we discussed:
Karl Yeh (00:00):
So my guest today, her name is Stephanie Moe. She's the social impact lead with AAA Northern California, Nevada, Utah. Thanks for joining us today, Stephanie.
Stephanie Moe (00:31):
Thanks for having me.
Karl Yeh (00:32):
So, our topic, we're going to be covering ERG, so ERG software, Employee Resource Group software. So, I guess, let's start from the very beginning, so
What is ERG software and how can it help solve employee engagement challenges?
Stephanie Moe (00:49):
So, ERG software is really just a tool to help build an online community for ERGs.
And Benevity's tool specifically, Affinity Groups, actually links with its Spark giving and volunteering software, to connect the two.
At our organization, our ERGs before having software had three main channels of communication with our members.
So, they had our intranet, email and chat and it felt very siloed and disconnected, and still is pretty much the most lively, but it's not the best place for sharing, things get buried. It can be overwhelming, especially if you're a member of multiple ERGs.
It feels very inundating. ERG software really helps to create that space where you can build a strong community and people can share things like photos and resources, and it just feels more like a traditional social space where people are used to engaging.
Karl Yeh (01:44):
So, is it sort of separate from, let's say, a Slack or a Microsoft Teams, something completely different?
Stephanie Moe (01:51):
Yeah. It's something completely different.
It's own space.
And we will direct people in... We use Google Chat at our organization, so we'll direct people via chat to, we call it ERG Central.
We'll direct them to ERG Central to check out a post and share here or take this quiz or take this survey and just check out the latest on ERG Central.
So, we still use the chat. The chat is still great, but it's just not always the best place when you're looking to really share something.
It's tough to go back if you're trying to find something and scroll up. And it just gets really busy, so having that space, that dedicated space for all the ERGs to connect is really, really wonderful.
Karl Yeh (02:34):
And I think you touched on this, but just to dive in a little bit more, what are some of the
Advantages and benefits of using a dedicated software to manage ERGs?
Stephanie Moe (02:43):
So, I was kind of alluding to the organization factor, right?
One organized space
So, just having the previous separate channels that we had, so the internet, chat, email, it's all very disjointed and not connected, so having one organized space where everybody can find everything, everybody can connect, makes it feel less scattered and a lot more cohesive.
And it helps to really foster that sense of community for the ERGs and their members.
And then also reporting. Reporting is huge.
It's something we've really struggled with when it comes to our ERGs.
Again, everything was separate and manual, lots of spreadsheets and things like that before.
So, the tool that we're using, Affinity Groups, actually has a really robust reporting tool that lets us capture engagement.
Employees can join the ERG through this tool, so it really helps us to keep an accurate count of members.
And then again, just tracking that engagement, that was something that was just really hard to do before.
You think of ERG leaders going through the chat, seeing who's talking, who's posting, who's sharing, going through attendance lists to see who's attending events, and nobody has time for that.
So having a tool where you have the backend resource that can provide reporting of how many people have shared, who is doing it, what are they engaging with, what kind of content do these ERG members like to engage with, is just super helpful.
Karl Yeh (04:08):
Mobile and accessibility
And in previous interviews, I've actually talked to people who were using different ERG tools, but I think one of the benefits for them, especially their organization was mobile.
So, they had a lot of remote employees. So, when we talk about remote, we're not talking about people who are, say, working from home, but in the field.
So, I think that's also a benefit.
Stephanie Moe (04:28):
And I've shared that too, with the nature of our workforce, we have a lot of team members who are not at a desk all day.
And in the nature of the site and the content and its social. People aren't doing social media on their laptops anymore.
They're not sharing photos via their laptops anymore. It's all on their phones.
So, if you want them to do things like share photos, mobile is really going to be key for that. And it does work really well, mobilely.
Karl Yeh (04:52):
So, how do you know when it's time to invest in the software, right?
So, what's the critical mass in an organization that's like, "Oh right. You know what? We need something to actually help our employees."
How to know it's time to invest in ERG Software?
Stephanie Moe (05:05):
Quite honestly, I think that any organization that has ERGs would benefit, no matter the size.
I know that budget does come into play there, but especially if your organization is just building an ERG program, to do it from the start and to have that at launch would be so wonderful to get things up and running and to help scale your programs and your ERGs.
We didn't have that when we started our program years ago, so it's been a bit of a behavior change getting people off of just the chat or not directing them to the intranet, but really bringing them into this new tool.
So, that's been a little bit of a shift, but I don't think that there is a limit.
I think that, especially if you don't have anything in place yet, to just have that spot for them would be just so helpful if you're launching a program
Karl Yeh (05:59):
Implementation maybe require more people, but to actually manage the software, can you do it by yourself or do you need actually a team of people to do it?
Resources required to manage ERG Software
Stephanie Moe (06:08):
I mean, I'm the admin for our program and if you're already managing your giving and volunteering platform, it's not that much different, but the HR ERG chairs has the leader access where they can go in and create content and shares.
I would not say that you need a team, but I think that it's important to have your ERG leaders or chairs train on how to use the site and share their content, so that it's not all falling on you, because that could be a lot, but you certainly can do it alone.
Karl Yeh (06:39):
Certainly you've had your experience in the ERG space. So, how did you get involved in Employee Resource Groups?
Involvement in Employee Resource Groups
Stephanie Moe (06:46):
I really started working more closely with our Employee Resource Groups over the last few years.
Especially with COVID, a lot of my work in traditional giving and volunteering was put on hold, so we needed to find a way to continue to engage our team members.
And our ERGs continue to thrive and grow and engage their members who were super passionate about being involved in giving back.
And talking with them, trying to solve for one of their biggest challenges was how do we measure? We have no way to report anything.
I knew at the time that I could leverage Spark and our giving platform and our volunteering platform to help with some reporting, so I worked really closely with them on creating custom content, like missions challenges has been huge.
And that has really helped us kind of measure engagement in those challenges, creating custom and curated giving opportunities and also just making sure I worked really closely with them as I always have on their volunteer opportunities as well.
So, that's really how it started. And then when the opportunity for Affinity Groups came up, we jumped on that.
We've been working together for so long. They were really excited about it. And yeah, just kind of went from there.
Karl Yeh (08:00):
Awesome. So, prior to adopting ERG software with AAA, how do you go about... Maybe, how did you manage ERGs or how was the ERGs managed overall?
AAA management of ERGs
Stephanie Moe (08:13):
So, the process was very manual.
It was a Google Form to sign up for an ERG, just lots of spreadsheets.
So, you'd send an email to the ERG chairs, letting them know people signed up and then they had to welcome them with an email. And try to keep track of their roster when somebody left the organization or they didn't have a way to even leave the ERG.
I don't think anybody ever emailed the ERG saying, "Oh, I'm not going to be a member anymore. This isn't for me." So, they never really had a true membership count, so this has really helped us keep track of who's in what ERG, how many people are members of multiple ERGs, and just a great central place for reporting.
Everything was just super manual and scattered and lots of folders and lots of spreadsheets, so this has just made it...
There's a beautiful dashboard to look at and really easy to export reports. So, it's been great.
Karl Yeh (09:08):
Awesome. And one final question, I guess, is do you have anything else to add in terms of anybody just getting started with ERG?
So, any advice or tips you think that someone who's considering an ERG software?
Getting started with ERG Software
Stephanie Moe (09:22):
I think, chat with your ERG chairs obviously to make sure, find out what's most important to them. For us, it was measurement and tracking engagement.
We didn't have a way to do that. And this tool presented a really easy way to do that.
And of course we're familiar with working with Benevity.
So, just make sure that the software and its capabilities match your ERG's goals.
I think that would be my biggest tip. And then just make sure that the provider, you're comfortable working with them.
Karl Yeh (09:56):
So, Stephanie, we could be talking about ERGs for a while and obviously we have part two for our episode here, but if any of our audience wants to get in touch with you, what's the best place to reach you?
Stephanie Moe (10:09):
They can message me on LinkedIn or shoot me an email. It's just Stephanie.Moe@arizonaa.aaa.com.
And I'm happy to answer any question.