Employee Resource Groups

Purpose

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) help create an inclusive workplace by giving equity-deserving groups a formal structure within an organization to support their unique needs. ERGs contribute to community building within organizations and provide an avenue for all employees to learn more about diverse groups. 

ERGs provide professional development opportunities to develop skills such as project management, budget development, public speaking and committee organization which are directly transferable to the workplace. Activities such as Annual General Meetings, educational workshops, social events and website development, among others, support employee professional development. ERG commitments typically range from five to ten hours per month for ERG organizers, less for ERG participants. [1]

Equity-Deserving Groups

Equity-deserving groups are communities that face significant collective challenges in participating in society. Their marginalization may be caused by attitudinal, historic, social, and environmental barriers based on characteristics including, but not limited to, age, ethnicity, disability, economic status, gender, nationality, race, faith, sexual orientation, and transgender status. Equity-deserving groups identify barriers to equal access, opportunities, and resources due to discrimination and subsequent disadvantage, and actively seek social justice and reparation. [2]

Funding Applications

The Vice-Principal (Culture, Equity, and Inclusion), in partnership with Human Resources (HR) and the Human Rights and Equity Office (HREO), provides support for ERGs working to build and support communities for equity-deserving groups on campus. 

ERGs may apply for funding of up to $1,000 per fiscal year (May 1 to April 30) from the Employee Resource Group Fund. Funding requests will be considered by the Vice-Principal (Culture, Equity, and Inclusion), HR, and HREO. ERGs may also be eligible for additional funding through the Inclusive Community Fund.

To receive funding, ERGs must submit an application which demonstrates that the ERG:

  • Works to advance the interests of equity-deserving groups on campus.

  • Is sponsored by a faculty or administrative unit.

 ERG Application Form (PDF 118.9 KB)

Responsibilities

Employee Resource Group

  • Establishes the executive team and invites members to join the group.

  • Plans and coordinates activities to support the development and enhancement of communities for equity-deserving groups on campus.

  • Complies with university policies and procedures and arranges necessary insurance coverage when holding events off campus (Events held on-campus involving Queen’s employees are covered by the university’s general insurance policy).

  • Submits a brief annual report (maximum three pages) to the Vice-Principal (Culture, Equity, and Inclusion), HR, and HREO describing the year’s activities with a budget update.

 ERG Report Form (Word 28.9 K)

Sponsoring Faculty or Administrative Unit

  • Provides an administrative home for the ERG.

  • Provides general guidance and advice to ERG members and executive.

  • Provides advice about and confirms compliance with university policies and procedures.

  • Supports the financial management and transactions of the ERG.

  • Provides reasonable administrative assistance when required.

Vice-Principal (Culture, Equity, and Inclusion)

  • Provides start-up and/or ongoing operations funds to support ERGs.

  • Coordinates and chairs the group that approves ERG applications for funding and reviews annual reports.

  • Receives and distributes annual activity and budget reports from ERGs receiving funding.

Human Resources

  • Introduces existing ERGs in all onboarding processes with information on how to get involved.

  • Communicates to managers the institutional value Queen’s sees in ERGs and employees contributing to ERGs.

  • Provides relevant information to those considering forming an ERG.

  • Provides guidance and advice to ERGs on HR programming.

  • Participates as a member of the group that reviews ERG funding applications and annual reports.

Human Rights and Equity Office

  • Provides guidance and advice to those considering forming an ERG.

  • Provides guidance and advice to ERGs on equity and human rights matters.

  • Participates as a member of the group that reviews ERG funding applications and annual reports.

Supervisors and Managers

Due to the important role ERGs play in advancing the university’s commitment to creating an inclusive environment, supervisors/managers should promote employee involvement in ERGs, and are strongly encouraged to support specific employee requests to participate in ERG events and programming whenever possible. 

To facilitate the success of ERGs, supervisors/managers should:

  • Raise awareness of ERGs for current and new employees.

  • Work collaboratively with employees to develop mutually agreeable plans to allow time for ERG participation while supporting the delivery of core operational responsibilities and timelines.

  • Provide employees adequate time, during work hours where operationally possible, to participate in ERG activities and/or to organize and conduct ERG business including planning, organization, mentorship, advocacy, etc. for their groups. If required, this may include adjusting work deliverables, if possible, or reviewing flexible or alternate work arrangements. Depending on the activity or ERG role, this may be a few hours at one time, or one to two hours per week on an ongoing basis.

  • Communicate to employees wanting to participate in ERG activities the expectations for prior approval to attend events or lead the organization of ERGs if required for operational planning. Given the sensitive and personal nature of some ERG related identities, managers shall not require employees to inform them of which ERG they are a part of, or the details of the events they are participating in.

  • Promote ERG events as appropriate to all staff as learning and development opportunities.

  • Provide access to appropriate resources for employees to participate in ERG activities, for example the temporary use of private work location or a computer.

  • Recognize the service contribution of employees who participate in ERGs as part of the annual performance planning process.

Employees

To facilitate ERG participation, achievement of professional development goals and recognition of service contribution balanced against operational requirements, employees should:

If appropriate given the employees’ working arrangements:

  • Speak with their manager in advance to request time to participate in ERG activities during working hours. Employees are encouraged to provide their manager with details of the type of work or ERG they are working on, when comfortable, but are not required to do so if they would like to protect this piece of their identity.

  • Share information on ERG activities with their manager where appropriate, and as comfortable, so they are aware of the how this contributes to professional development and provides opportunities to develop transferable skills.

  • Consider life and work responsibilities and set reasonable individual expectations and boundaries for participation in ERGs.

  • Work collaboratively with managers to develop mutually agreeable plans to allow time for ERG participation while supporting the delivery of core operational responsibilities and timelines.    

 


 

[1] More information on developing ERGs is available in the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion Employee Resource Groups: Toolkit for Diversity and Inclusion Practitioners.

[2] Based on the Canada Council for the Arts Equity Policy.