Holding leaders of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) accountable can be a challenge, but it's a crucial step in ensuring the success and longevity of these groups. In order to effectively hold ERG leaders accountable, it's important to first hold yourself accountable by implementing processes and tracking data. With these tools in place, you can engage in targeted and productive conversations with ERG leaders, instead of relying on vague accusations of poor performance. This article will delve into the strategies and tactics needed to hold ERG leaders accountable while maintaining a supportive and empathetic approach.
Key #1: Setting up the Foundation
The first key to holding ERG Leaders accountable is setting up a proper ERG Program Foundation. This means taking responsibility for the success of the program and doing the necessary work to ensure it is structured, sustainable, and long-lasting.
To get started, you need to conduct a listening tour and gather data about your current ERG program. This information will help you create a vision of what success for the program could look like. The vision should be based on what you've heard from executives, ERG members, and ERG leaders about what they want from the program.
Next, create a strategy based on the vision. The strategy should outline a timeline and benchmarks for the program to hit along the way. This will help align ERG leaders with the goals of the program and give them a sense of ownership in making it a success.
It's important to note that simply launching grassroots ERGs or buying ERG software is not the work that needs to be done. The work is in the ERG movement, which involves taking the time to listen and gather data, create a vision, and create a strategy that everyone can get behind.
Having ERG budget in place and ERG leaders in place is a win, but it's not the only work that needs to be done. You need to be intentional and take responsibility for the success of the program, not just rely on technology or budget. If you're struggling with holding ERG leaders accountable, listen to episode three of the podcast, where I discuss the ERG relaunch plan.
Key #2: Role Structure & Processes
Having a clear role structure and process in place is one of the key factors in holding ERG Leaders accountable. ERG leaders need to know what their role is and what they're responsible for. It's important to have a clear leadership structure in place, rather than just having co-chair titles that don't clearly define individual responsibilities.
To make sure ERG leaders know exactly what they're supposed to do, it's important to have a standardized operating procedure (SOP) in place. This document should outline the step-by-step instructions for executing on their role. Unfortunately, very few ERG programs actually have these SOPs in place. The reason for this is that many ERGs operate on a grassroots model, with each ERG having different role titles and operating differently.
To solve this problem, it's important to have a consistent structure across all ERGs. This could mean having four or three main roles within the ERG structure, with multiple people filling these roles. Outlining what each role is responsible for, such as communications or event planning, can help to streamline the ERG program. The SOP for each role should then outline the specific tasks that need to be completed and how to do them. This could include things like managing Slack channels, creating a communication calendar, or scheduling communications.
Creating an SOP might involve recording videos that explain how to complete specific tasks. This can be especially helpful for volunteer ERG leaders who may not have a lot of time to dedicate to their role. Having clear processes in place will make it easier for ERG leaders to plug in and start contributing effectively. Outlining individual responsibilities and creating SOPs for each role can help to streamline the ERG program and make it easier for volunteer leaders to get involved and contribute effectively.
Key #3: Data
In the third key to holding ERG leaders accountable, data plays a big role in helping to define success. The idea is to measure both input and output metrics. Input metrics are the activities that ERG leaders are held accountable for. For example, a communications leader might be asked to post a certain number of times per month. Another input metric for a communications leader might be to schedule posts in advance, with a specific deadline for scheduling.
Output metrics, on the other hand, measure the performance of the activity. For a communications leader, this might include the open rate of their channel or the Slack engagement score, which measures how many people within the Slack channel have actively commented or used an emoji in the past 30 days. These output metrics provide valuable learnings, as they show how to do the input metrics better and improve engagement.
Data is crucial in helping ERG leaders understand what success looks like. The use of metrics helps to simplify the role and prove its importance. However, data can't just be numbers on a sheet. Data visualization is an important next step, and the importance of visualizing data will be discussed further in future discussions.
Data plays a big role in defining success for ERG leaders and helps to hold them accountable. By measuring both input and output metrics, ERG leaders can associate their activities with performance metrics and see the results of their efforts. Data helps to simplify the role and provide valuable learnings for improvement.
Holding ERG Leaders accountable is an important aspect of running an Employee Resource Group (ERG). The first step in holding others accountable is to hold yourself accountable by implementing processes and tracking data. This ensures that when you have conversations with ERG leaders about their responsibilities, you have concrete data to back up your points.
However, simply pointing out the gaps in the data is not enough. You need to have a more targeted and empathetic approach to the conversation. Instead of simply saying "you're not doing your role", you can acknowledge their efforts and then ask how you can help make it easier for them to complete their responsibilities. For example, if an ERG leader has not scheduled six messages as per the process, you can offer to show them a video on how to schedule messages in Slack in five minutes. This helps shift the conversation from one of criticism to one of support and collaboration.
It's crucial to understand that ERG leaders are volunteering their time, and it's important to make their role as manageable as possible. When you have a clear process in place with specific metrics, it becomes easier to hold ERG leaders accountable in a positive and productive way. This can help avoid burnout and ensure that ERG leaders are motivated to continue their important work. By taking these steps, you can make sure that your ERG is running smoothly and achieving its goals.