ERLI: Employee Resource Leadership Initiative

What Is ERLI?

The Catalyst Employee Resource Leadership Initiative (ERLI) engages and connects Employee Resource Group leaders—for any demographic—across companies, industries, functions, and regions to share ideas and practices while learning how to amplify inclusion. Through a variety of formats including virtual and live events, 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 business and inclusion impact, a network of external ERG contacts at other Catalyst member companies, and skills in inclusive leadership behaviors. Click here to download our flyer.

Why ERGs?

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. 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 at all levels, complementing senior leadership-driven diversity and inclusion strategies within organizations. Although some regard these groups as exclusive, well-managed ERGs can ignite inclusion and build alliances across difference in the workplace. Building bridges among ERGs, between ERGs and other areas of the business, and opening membership and/or ERG activities to broader audiences is essential.

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 ERLI entail?

  • Annual Conference: The inaugural conference for ERG leaders and executive sponsors took place on May 4 – 5, 2015, at BMO's Institute for Learning in Toronto. View the program!

  • Virtual and Live Events: Quarterly webinars feature guest panelists; the second webinar in the ERLI series, Building Alliances, Increasing Impact: Employee Groups and Organizational Change, was held on January 22, 2015. Live ERG roundtables for Catalyst members are held across our global regions. Recent events were held in London, Mississauga, Dallas, Houston, and Toronto. Contact us if you are interested in hosting an event.

  • An ERG Community: ERLI connects you with ERG leaders across companies via social media (see our LinkedIn group) and message boards. Post your questions and receive real-time responses from other companies as well as Catalyst experts.

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

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. Other key distinctions are:

  • Annual ERLI Conference that features ongoing Catalyst ERG impact research.

  • Leadership development for ERG leaders on inclusive leadership.

  • Impact sessions/workshops on ERG strategy at the ERLI Conference, led by Catalyst and other experts.

  • Networking and opting into a community of Catalyst members and partners through social media and message boards.

  • Because the ERLI initiative is about our mission to drive inclusion in the workplace, most of the programming is free (tools, webinars, roundtables) or at very low cost (ERLI Conference) to employees of Catalyst member companies.

3. What sort of topics will ERLI include?

Effective ERGs have four qualities: strong commitment from senior leaders and solid alliances with HR and business leaders; a firm business strategy linked to organizational benefits; regular metrics to measure progress; and an inclusive mission that creates dialogue with other employees and consumers.

Participants in ERLI will discuss topics such as training ERG leaders on becoming inclusive leaders and how to promote inclusive leadership behaviors across the organization. You will also learn about effective ERG planning and operations, from starting a new ERG to increasing organizational value and impact. Take a look at Catalyst’s knowledge page on ERGs and toolkit to learn more about our expertise and consulting services, including:

  • Developing ERG Infrastructure: A Step-by-Step Planning Guide

  • ERG Governance: Leadership Roles and Structure

  • Building Support and Working with Other Constituencies

  • Action Planning and Effectiveness Tracking

  • ERG Troubleshooting, Success Factors, and Future Directions

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 below. ERLI is for men and women alike who want to create inclusive workplaces at their organizations.

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). The webinars, roundtable meetings, message boards, and tools are free and open to anyone affiliated with an ERG at a Catalyst member organization. The ERLI Conference welcomes ERG leaders at all levels, including ERG officers or team leaders, executive sponsors, and D&I coordinators who manage ERG programs.

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

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, please take a moment to complete the form below. By submitting this form you are giving Catalyst permission to contact you.