ERLI: Employee Resource Leadership Initiative

Igniting Inclusion through Employee Resource Groups

With more than 20 years of experience working with employee resource groups (ERGs) across industries and regions, Catalyst understands that a powerful ERG enables organizations to increase employee engagement, connect to communities in which business is conducted, and enhance the bottom line. The Catalyst Employee Resource Leadership Initiative (ERLI) engages and connects Employee Resource Group leaders—for any demographic—across companies, industries, functions, and regions share ideas and practices while learning concrete ways to amplify inclusion. The inaugural conference for ERG leaders and executive sponsors will take place on May 4 – 5, 2015, at BMO's Institute for Learning in Toronto. Register now! ($350 per Catalyst member, $500 per non-member). A block of rooms at the Institute for Learning is also available.

Why ERGs?

Members often tell Catalyst that change is difficult at the middle-manager level. ERGs, business resource groups (BRGs) or affinity/network groups are voluntary, employee-led groups that serve as a resource for members and organizations by fostering a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with organizational mission, values, goals, business practices, and objectives. They enable change that complements senior leadership-driven diversity and inclusion strategies within organizations. Although some regard these groups as exclusive, well-managed ERGs serve a critical role to ignite inclusion and build alliances across difference in the workplace.

Through a variety of formats including virtual and live events, Catalyst’s ERLI will train ERG leaders to drive inclusion within their companies at the individual and group levels. Outcomes for participants include strategies for enhancing the ERG’s overall value to the organization, a network of external ERG contacts at other Catalyst member companies, and skills in inclusive leadership behaviors. Click on the image below to view the ERLI flyer.

For more information about ERLI, please contact Candice Morgan, Senior Director, Global Member Services or Krista Brookman, Vice President, Inclusive Leadership Initiative.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does the Employee Resource Leadership Initiative entail?

  • Annual Conference: The inaugural conference for ERG leaders and executive sponsors will take place on May 4 – 5, 2015, at BMO's Institute for Learning in Toronto. Register now! ($350 per Catalyst member, $500 per non-member). A block of rooms at the Institute for Learning is also available.

  • Virtual and Live Events: Quarterly webinars will feature guest panelists; live ERG roundtables for members will be held across our global regions.

  • An ERG Community: ERLI connects ERG leaders across companies via social media (see our LinkedIn group) and message boards.

2. How is ERLI distinct from other ERG events/conferences?

ERLI is distinct in its two-pronged approach:
1. Best practice insights, connection with others, and planning to increase ERG effectiveness and business value
2. Inclusive leadership training for individuals who belong to ERGs.

ERLI is grounded in Catalyst knowledge, which is developed through a variety of platforms including the Catalyst Research Center for Advancing Leadership Effectiveness and Catalyst Award-winning practices. Our events will engage ERG members as emerging leaders who drive inclusion in their everyday roles, and promote ERGs as drivers of change.

3. What sort of topics will ERLI include?

The topics will include training on driving inclusive leadership for ERG members, and promotion of these inclusive leadership behaviors across the organization as a whole. Events and materials will also provide advice on effective ERG planning and operations, from starting an ERG to increasing organizational value and impact. Please refer to Catalyst’s knowledge page on ERGs and toolkit to learn more about our expertise.

4. Who can participate?

If you are an ERG leader, an executive sponsor, or actively involved in your organization’s ERG efforts, and you would like information about upcoming ERLI events, please take a moment to submit the form above.

As a participant, you will have the opportunity to connect with other ERG leaders across a wide variety of constituencies (e.g., women’s, LGBT, millennial, and working parents). ERLI is for men and women alike who are seeking to make their organizations an inclusive workplace. The webinars, upcoming message boards, and materials are open to anyone affiliated with an ERG at a Catalyst member organization. The conference welcomes ERG leaders at all levels, including ERG officers or team leaders, D&I coordinators who manage ERG programs, and executive sponsors.

5. How can I become involved? How can I involve others at my organization?

6. What will I walk away with when I participate?

When you participate in the ERLI community, you will develop competency in two areas:

  • Inclusive Leadership Competencies

    • Understanding and practicing inclusive behaviors.

    • Ability to train colleagues on inclusive behaviors.

  • ERG Effectiveness Competencies

    • Company practices and ERLI framework.

    • Common ERG issues and solution strategies.

    • Broad external ERG network.

If you are a leader, an executive sponsor, or actively involved in your organization’s ERG efforts, and you would like information about upcoming ERLI opportunities and, please take a moment to complete the form below. By submitting this form you are giving Catalyst permission to contact you.