How to

Build Affinity Groups

Do you want to build an affinity group in your workplace but don't have an idea where to start?

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What are affinity groups?

Affinity groups or employee resource groups (ERGs) are made of employees with similar interests, backgrounds, or goals. Affinity groups have a powerful impact in the workplace and help promote the company’s inclusion and diversity. In a workplace, affinity groups are managed by the employee members. Here are some examples of affinity groups:

  • Gender

  • Race

  • Religion

  • Nationality

  • Sexual Orientation

  • Mental or physical ability

  • Family structure

Want to know the benefits of affinity groups in the workplace? Read our article about it here.

group of employees

See the comprehensive list or example facility/employee resource groups provided later in this article

Guide in Building an Affinity Group

There are lots of reasons why you should promote affinity groups in your company, but it doesn’t mean that all companies have them or consider having them. If you’re planning to build affinity groups, here’s a guide to help you start one!

  1. Set a specific goal

What does your company need? What are its benefits for the employees? This could be creating a friendly and safe environment for employees with a particular background or community. Affinity groups help employees share their experiences and enjoy their safe spaces. If your goal is to promote unity and diversity, you may want to hire more women and people from the LGBTQ community.

Setting a goal helps you in the first step of building an affinity group by knowing who to include and what to expect. No matter what your goal is, define clear parameters to follow. Without a concrete plan or goal, you can’t expect your employees to support your idea.

goal

Consider making an Emplyee Resourse Group or Affinity Group Charter - See below for details


2. Identify potential members

You don’t have to be alone when starting an affinity group. Finding potential members will help you in building the group. Consider having senior or executive members sponsor you or join the group. Having a few people on your side will boost your credibility. If you know employees with similar backgrounds or interests, encourage them to join.

3. Share your ideas

Once you already have potential members for your affinity group, share your ideas with the upper management. Set a meeting and present your ideas, the benefits of affinity groups, and how they can positively affect your company. You can share statistics of companies that initiate diversity through affinity groups.

Having a meeting with the upper management is important because they will be the ones to provide funding, and help you promote and grow the group.

4. Make use of your resources

When building an affinity group, you need to work with the resources that you have. This may mean chipping in on a meal, having employees bring food, and getting help to launch your first event from volunteers and donors. When you're working at a startup company, it helps to be financially savvy and start small. With your effort and perseverance, you will impress the company with your initiative and help you build your case to deserve more resources and funding.

discussing  resources

5. Structure your meetings

Create an outline of your meetings. What will it look like? How to ensure that you’re on track with your goals? If there are small winds that the group can achieve, talk about it. This will keep your members enthusiastic and motivated. Discuss the takeaways and “mini-goals” as a group.

6. Open your group to remote members

Nowadays, remote team members are becoming the norm. If you want to expand your group, you may want to consider accepting remote colleagues.

With the use of modern technology, you can bring them into the conversation, and schedule meetings or events.

7. Establish Limitations

While affinity groups create change and diversity in the workplace, they can’t be fixed overnight. It’s important to remember that your workplace has rules. For instance, there’s a huge difference between college activism and professional activism. It may be difficult to advocate certain things for people who come from organizations with freedom of expression knowing the constraints of a larger corporation. The key is to communicate professionally.

Your workplace is not the only place you can make a difference. Your group can join local organisations, volunteer, donate, or get involved in conversations.

employees sharing ideas


8. Provide updates

To keep your affinity group functioning is to provide updates on your progress and plans, and discuss things that will be beneficial to the group.

9. Give it time

Building an affinity group takes time. Success doesn’t happen in a snap of a finger. It may take time to reach your goals and make a difference within the workplace. It takes a lot of energy, trial, and error. As long as you believe in your goals and what your group advocates, it will all be worth it in the end.

Affinity Groups in Steegle Springboard

The Springboard intranet from Steegle allows affinity groups to be created automatically, allowing end-users to add and subscribe themselves.

Some examples of real-world affinity groups/employee resource groups include:

  • Women's employee resource groups, which support and advocate for the needs of women within the organization

  • Generation employee resource groups, which support and advocate for the needs of employees from different age groups within the organization

  • LGBTQ employee resource groups, which support and advocate for the needs of LGBTQ employees within the organization

  • People of color employee resource groups, which support and advocate for the needs of employees of color within the organization

  • Working parents employee resource groups, which support and advocate for the needs of working parents within the organization

  • Disability employee resource groups, which support and advocate for the needs of employees with disabilities within the organization

  • Veterans employee resource groups, which support and advocate for the needs of veterans within the organization

  • Multicultural employee resource groups, which support and advocate for the needs of employees from diverse cultural backgrounds within the organization.

  • Religious employee resource groups, which support and advocate for the needs of employees with different religious beliefs within the organization

  • Ethnic employee resource groups, which support and advocate for the needs of employees from different ethnic backgrounds within the organization

  • Remote employee resource groups, which support and advocate for the needs of employees who work remotely within the organization

  • Caregiver employee resource groups, which support and advocate for the needs of employees who are caregivers within the organization.

  • Environmental employee resource groups, which support and advocate for the needs of employees who are interested in environmental issues within the organization

  • Health and wellness employee resource groups, which support and advocate for the needs of employees who are interested in promoting health and wellness within the organization

  • Tech employee resource groups, which support and advocate for the needs of employees who work in technical roles within the organization

  • Creative employee resource groups, which support and advocate for the needs of employees who have a creative focus or background within the organization

  • Career development employee resource groups, which support and advocate for the needs of employees who are interested in advancing their careers within the organization

  • Service employee resource groups, which support and advocate for the needs of employees who have served in the military or in other public service roles.

  • International employee resource groups, which support and advocate for the needs of employees who have a global or international focus within the organization

  • Mental health employee resource groups, which support and advocate for the needs of employees who are interested in promoting mental health and well-being within the organization

  • Social impact employee resource groups, which support and advocate for the needs of employees who are interested in making a positive social impact through their work

  • Learning and development employee resource groups, which support and advocate for the needs of employees who are interested in professional development and continuous learning within the organization.

  • Single parents employee resource groups, which support and advocate for the needs of single parents within the organization

  • An expat employee resource group which might focus on providing support and resources for expat employees, such as information on local laws and regulations, assistance with finding housing and other necessities, and cultural orientation to help employees adjust to their new surroundings.

These employee resource groups play an important role in promoting diversity and inclusion within organizations, and in supporting the unique needs of different groups of employees.


Example Charter for "Working Parents Group" ERG Affinity Group

Purpose:

The purpose of the working parents employee resource group is to support and advocate for the needs of working parents within the organization. The group's aim is to create a more family-friendly workplace and to elp working parents balance their professional and personal responsibilities.

Goals:

  • Increase the representation of working parents at all levels of the organization

  • Improve the workplace experience for working parents, through initiatives such as flexible work arrangements and support for parents returning from leave

  • Foster a culture of support and understanding for the challenges faced by working parents

Principles:

  • Commitment to diversity and inclusion, including support for working parents from all backgrounds and with varying family structures

  • Recognition of the importance of work-life balance and support for working parents to succeed in both their professional and personal lives

  • Focus on creating a positive and supportive environment for working parents

Structure and decision-making:

  • The group will be led by a steering committee consisting of working parents from various departments and levels within the organization

  • Membership in the group will be open to all employees who are working parents or who support the group's purpose and goals

  • Decisions will be made through consensus-based discussions and voting by the steering committee

Collaboration:

  • The group will work closely with other employee resource groups and with the wider organization to promote support for working parents

  • The group will also seek opportunities to engage with external organizations and communities to share best practices and build connections.

Looking for a customized intranet solution for your organization?

Since 2008, we here at Steegle.com have been delivering intranet development solutions and ongoing support and maintenance for organizations including hospitals and medical institutions. As a certified Google Cloud Partner, we specialize in Google Workspace- based solutions. Give us a call at US ✆ +1 (302) 672 3007 UK ✆ +44 (207) 871 502 or contact us today to view a demo of our intranet solutions, and see how it can help increase employee productivity and save time and money. Click below to learn more about the Springboard Intranet solution.

Sales Hotlines

US ✆ +1 (302) 672 3007
UK ✆ +44 (207) 871 5021

Google Cloud Partner