“What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM)
What every new employee resource group (ERG) requires most are people: the life-blood for ideas and activities! But how do you reach out to employees, help them understand the value of the ERG and get them involved to engage actively?
Communicating the benefits they have from joining and becoming an active member. Give them solid answers to their question: “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM).
From my experience, there are people in every organization that actively seek an opportunity to challenge and prove themselves, who want to develop new or apply acquired skills, make a significant difference even outside their immediate job requirements, impact the business results, going the ‘extra-mile’ and being recognized for it.
Take a look at the volunteers, the activists, the silent experts, the social connectors around you that show positive ‘organizational citizenship behavior’ within your organization. What are they interested in, what troubles them, what makes them ‘tick’? What opportunities does your ERG provide for them?
Now, ERGs may offer different benefits to its members. In general, fulfilling motivators can include:
- Exposure to other business areas and insight to departments outside their day-job
- Doing meaningful, interesting and business-relevant work
- Solving a problem that many people share
- Making a difference – directly, here and now
- Personal growth and professional experience and development opportunities
- Developing skills such as presentation, organization, negotiation, etc.
- Meeting like-minded people to connect and network with
- Visibility to management, leaders, and decision-makers within the company and possibly also outside the company
- Receiving appreciation and recognition for achievements
- Aiming for new career opportunities.
Find the driver and aim to form a symbiosis between member and ERG to the better of the organization, the individual member and the ERG.
A business focused ERG may even serve as a real-life ‘leadership development pipeline’ for the company where more experienced members support and coach the less experienced ones to reach a shared goal. This way an ambitious ERG member can gain hands-on experience in relevant business projects, lead increasingly larger projects and take on more responsibility over time while establishing a credible and professional track-record for themselves.
Now, those are achievements an employee can proudly point out in their next job interview, while the company and the ERG benefits from unleashing the employees full potential!