- Employee resource groups (ERGs) have been proven to enhance the employee experience, but they are mainly used within the private employer sector.
Now, to attract and retain talent, Hennepin County in Minnesota has for two years running been taking advantage of ERGs – including groups dedicated to veterans, millennials and others. The ERGs, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune, are used for professional development, volunteering, social activities and "advocating" for local change.
According to the article, Hennepin County is the first public jurisdiction in Minnesota to launch ERGs, and county leaders told the Star Tribune that the idea, much like with large private employers, is to give workers a say and try to ensure they "feel like they belong" in the large county organization.
Michael Rossman, the county’s chief human resources officer, told the Star Tribune that if the county workplace culture is lacking based on employee views, it's not a good thing for talent retention. At the same time, the county expects retirements will cut 32% of the workforce within four years. Since ERGs came on the scene in 2013, they have gone from two to seven groups with about 650 employees (about 8% of the county’s 8,400 employees).
For example, veterans launched a mentoring program, while a group of women in STEM areas talk to high school girls about STEM careers. Millennials, the largest group, look for more learning opportunities and ideas of how they can boost their career paths.
No surprise that ERGs are having an impact in Hennepin County. They seem to be having a real impact not only on recruiting and retention, but also in helping build overall diversity – a serious challenge for many employers today.