At Coda, when we were ready to start our first employee resource group, also referred to as an ERG or affinity group, we began with research, scouring books, blogs and company websites for instructions on how to do it. But our research raised more questions than it provided answers. Who should be in charge of an ERG if don’t have a big team? How do you know when to start one? More importantly, how do you create a resource group that is a safe, inclusive space for people without boxing them into an identity or dismissing their intersectionality? There were ample case studies of ERGs at large companies, but we couldn’t find examples of companies like usーstartups that don’t yet have behemoth budgets and legacy processes in place.
Since we couldn’t find a playbook for those who are just beginning to establish ERGs, we decided to create our own. We hope that by sharing some of the research we found helpful, and explaining how we got started, that it can serve as one reference point for your own ERG plans.
We’ll be the first to say that we don’t have all the answers, and we’re learning all the timeー this is just one way to get started. This playbook is a living document, and we anticipate that our processes will evolve over time as we learn more.