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Ask a Resourceful Human: Should employees be paid for leading ERGs?

Investing in the leaders of your company’s ERGs can pay dividends.
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Francis Scialabba

· less than 3 min read

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Welcome to our regular HR advice column, Ask a Resourceful Human. Here to answer all of your burning questions is Erin Grau, the co-founder and COO of Charter, a media and services company that aims to transform the workplace. Erin has over 15 years of experience at the intersection of talent and operations in global organizations and startups, including the New York Times and Away. You can sign up for the free Charter newsletter about the future of work here.

Employee resource groups (ERGs) have become part of many companies’ DE&I efforts. Now some have asked: Should we pay our ERG leaders for their time?


I’ll elaborate.

Inclusion-building and retention-driving work, like leading an ERG, should be recognized and rewarded. And yet, while 90% of Fortune 500 companies have ERGs—officially chartered networks of employees who share a common identity such as gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and caregiving status—less than 6% compensate those groups’ leaders for their significant contributions. This should change.

The work of ERG leaders—who are disproportionately women and people of color—increases retention, drives employee engagement, supports diverse talent pipelines, and shapes policies and benefits that affect all employees. This work is in service of an organization’s talent strategy.

Compensating ERG leaders, a practice currently in place at Twitter and LinkedIn, affirms that inclusion and retention-driving work isn’t a side hustle or a volunteer opportunity. It sends a signal that it is valued and valuable work. It shows that ERGs aren’t merely employee clubs: They’re a demonstration of the company’s investment in their people and in the communities those ERGs represent.

If you’re not sure how best to compensate your organization’s ERG leaders, Culture Amp has a useful how-to guide. And if you want to do more to recognize ERG leaders and encourage future leadership in this domain, invest in leadership development and recognize their contributions in their performance reviews.—EG

Have you implemented a compensation model for ERGs? What did you learn in doing so? Or do you have a different question about HR? Let us know at [email protected]. Anonymity is assured.

HR is challenging. HR news doesn’t have to be.

HR Brew keeps you effective in the fast-changing business environment.