How to Measure Success for an ERG: 6 ERG Metrics and KPIs
Senior Content Manager and Employee Engagement Researcher
Apr 3, 2023
Here’s the good news: Most large- and many medium-sized businesses now offer employee resource groups or ERGs. The bad news? ERGs are often poorly structured, poorly monitored, and poorly visible to executives and HR leaders. They don’t have to be that way. While having ERGs can drastically improve your organization’s ability to attract, retain, engage, and develop employees, you’ll get the most benefit from these programs when they’re structured and trackable. That means focusing on creating a process for gathering data and tracking ERG metrics that prove the value of the program to executive leaders who may be questioning their existence.
Below, you’ll find an actionable guide on 10 ERG metrics you may want to consider tracking. We’ve also provided some additional details on how to start tracking those metrics to make that data far more useful in achieving your company’s goals.
Briefly: What Are ERG Metrics?
ERG metrics are any quantifiable data you can gather and analyze as part of an employee resource group. HR leaders will likely find that the type of metrics important to ERG programs is the same as other types of employee engagement programs. For example, if you’re already running mentoring programs, many of the same metrics you gather and analyze will be the same. These can include, but are not limited to:
- Participation rates
- Satisfaction rates (both for relationships and for the program as a whole)
- Engagement in the program
- Program ROI
The metrics you choose should align with your organization’s key performance indicators (KPIs). You should consider these metrics important key performance indicators (KPIs) for your programs. As you align your ERGs to different business goals or objectives, consider how these metrics will be used to determine whether your ERGs are having the desired impact.
1. ERG Membership Numbers
The number of employees who have joined an ERG is an important metric to track. High membership numbers in your ERGs tend to mean your ERGs are serving your population as intended. Still, remember that member numbers alone don’t tell the whole story. You also need to track participation rates and retention rates to get a more complete picture of whether your ERGs are successful.
How to measure membership numbers
The best way to accurately measure ERG membership numbers is to create a formalized and structured ERG program. Many companies choose to run programs informally. However, doing so means that you will only be able to get insights into membership through equally-informal surveys. And as you probably already know, self-reported data is often problematic.
By creating a formal and structured program using ERG software, you can funnel participation through a trackable format. From there, you can identify membership through the software platform. That data can be invaluable as you determine what percentage of your BIPOC, female, and LGBTQIA+ team members are voluntarily enrolled without the guesswork.
2. ERG Participation Rates
Are you tracking how many ERG participants are actively checking in and engaging in group activities and events? If so, this will fall under participation rates data. As an HR leader, tracking this data can help you understand how engaged members are with the group and whether that group is meeting their needs. Tracking participation rates can help HR leaders to understand how engaged members are with the group and whether the group is meeting their needs. Low participation rates may indicate that the group’s activities are not aligned with the interests of its members or that the group needs to do more to promote its activities and engage its members.
How to measure participation rates
To measure participation rates, ERG leaders can track the attendance of members at meetings, events, and activities. They can also survey members to gather feedback on the group’s activities and to identify areas for improvement.
For example, let’s say that an ERG has 100 members. Over the course of a year, the group holds five meetings and two events. At each meeting, an average of 20 members attend, while at each event, an average of 40 members attend. In total, the group has 180 member attendances (5 meetings x 20 attendees + 2 events x 40 attendees).
This means the group’s participation rate is 60% (180 member attendances / 300 total members).
The only thing to answer beyond this is whether a 60% participation rate is good or bad. That’s not really something we can answer for you here, however. “Good” or “bad” is highly variable and dependent on your organization’s unique dynamics. 25% could be good for one company, while 25% could be disastrous for another.
By measuring participation rates, ERG leaders can identify members who may be at risk of disengagement and take steps to re-engage them. They can also use feedback from members to improve the group’s activities and increase participation rates.
3. ERG Participant Satisfaction Rates
Surveys or feedback mechanisms can be used to measure how satisfied members are with the ERG and its activities. This metric is important because it can help HR leaders to understand whether the ERG is meeting its members’ needs and whether there are opportunities for improvement. A high level of employee satisfaction with the ERG can also contribute to improved engagement and retention rates.
How to measure participation satisfaction rates in ERG
Understanding whether you’re employees are satisfied with your ERGs is a bit of a do-or-die. By that, we mean either you understand whether they’re getting enjoyment from those programs or those programs are doomed. A high level of employee satisfaction can help to increase engagement and retention rates, promote a positive workplace culture, and attract top talent. But overall, visibility into whether your programs are working helps you rework them to what they need to be for your participants.
Here are two ways you can gather satisfaction survey data.
1. Employee surveys:
We’ll readily acknowledge a bit of hypocrisy here, considering we poo-pooed survey data just above. Nevertheless, sometimes, survey data is the best option available. For qualitative data, like how someone feels about a program, it’s the only option.
Employee surveys are a commonly used method for measuring employee satisfaction in an ERG program. Surveys can be used to gather feedback from ERG members on their overall satisfaction with the group and its activities. Surveys can also be used to gather feedback on specific areas of the ERG program, such as events and activities, communication, and leadership.
To conduct an employee survey, ERG leaders can use a variety of survey tools, although an ERG software platform should have survey capabilities built into the tool. Surveys should be designed to be brief and easy to complete, with clear and concise questions. ERG leaders should also ensure that the survey is anonymous to encourage honest feedback.
For example, ERG leaders can ask questions such as:
- On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with the overall ERG program?
- How would you rate the quality of the events and activities organized by the ERG?
- How effectively does the ERG communicate with its members?
- How would you rate the leadership of the ERG?
By analyzing the results of the survey, ERG leaders can identify areas where members are satisfied and areas where improvements can be made. This can help to increase overall employee satisfaction with the ERG program.
2. Feedback sessions:
Feedback sessions are another method for measuring employee satisfaction in an ERG program. These sessions can be conducted in person or virtually and can be used to gather feedback from ERG members on their overall satisfaction with the group and its activities. Feedback sessions can also be used to gather feedback on specific areas of the ERG program, such as events and activities, communication, and leadership.
To conduct a feedback session, ERG leaders can organize a meeting or event where members can provide feedback on their experiences with the ERG program. Feedback sessions should be structured to encourage open and honest communication, with a focus on constructive feedback.
When conducting feedback sessions, ERG leaders can ask questions such as:
- What do you like about the ERG program?
- What areas of the ERG program do you think could be improved?
- How can the ERG program better meet the needs of its members?
- What suggestions do you have for future events and activities?
By analyzing the feedback received during the session, ERG leaders can identify areas where members are satisfied and areas where improvements can be made. This can help to increase overall employee satisfaction with the ERG program.
Important reminder here: Never take the survey data personally. If possible, make feedback surveys anonymous. Employees who feel their feedback will be used against them are either unlikely to respond to a survey or may respond more positively than they actually feel. The goal of participation feedback is to get as close to the true sentiment as possible. That data is invaluable in helping you improve the quality of the program.
4. ERG Retention Rates
Employee retention is hands down one of the most important metrics you’ll need to track. Even with economic troubles and downturns, our post-pandemic world will be one where workers are increasingly hard to find. Sprinkle in the lowest population growth we’ve seen in a century, and you have a recipe for high turnover.
Retention rates are the percentage of members who continue to participate in the group over time. Tracking retention rates can help HR leaders to understand whether members are finding value in the group and whether the group is meeting their needs over the long term. Low retention rates may indicate that the group’s activities are not sufficiently engaging or that members are not finding value in the group.
How to measure retention rates for ERG participants
Here’s a scenario for you. Let’s say an HR leader is measuring the retention rates of members of their organization’s Black Leadership ERG over a three-year period. They collect data on the employment status of the 50 members who were part of the ERG at the beginning of the three-year period. After three years, they find that the organization still employs 40 members, while 10 joined the Great Resignation and quit for other opportunities. To calculate the retention rate, the HR leader would divide 40 by 50, which equals 0.8, or 80%.
This scenario illustrates the fairly simply calculation you can use to measure retention rates for any program, including ERGs: Total Number of Participants Still Employed / Total Number of Participants = Retention Rate.
As you can see, you won’t know or understand the retention rate until after a set period. As such, you’ll likely need to set a longer time period for when to measure ERG retention. Going by the average length of tenure for new hires is one method. Or, go by the average length of tenure at your company.
Here’s a step-by-step breakdown for measuring retention:
- Define the retention metric: The first step is to define what retention means in the context of the ERG program. This could be the percentage of ERG members who remain employed with the organization after a certain period, such as one year or five years.
- Collect data: To measure retention rates for the ERG program, the HR leader needs to collect data on ERG members’ employment status over time. This can be done by tracking ERG membership and employment status data in the organization’s HR system.
- Calculate retention rates: Once the data has been collected, the HR leader can calculate the retention rate by dividing the number of ERG members who remain employed by the total number of ERG members. This can be done for different time periods, such as one year, three years, or five years.
- Analyze retention rates: After calculating the retention rates, the HR leader should analyze the data to identify any trends or patterns. For example, the data may show that ERG members from certain demographics or departments have higher or lower retention rates than others.
- Benchmark retention rates: It’s important to benchmark the retention rates of ERG members against the organization’s overall retention rates to understand how the ERG program is impacting retention. This can be done by calculating the organization’s retention rate and comparing it to the ERG retention rate.
- Take action: Based on the retention rate data and trends, the HR leader can take action to improve retention rates for ERG members. This could include implementing targeted retention strategies, addressing issues that may be causing lower retention rates for certain groups, or investing in ERG programs that have been shown to improve retention.
That last step is critical to everything you do here. There’s little point in gathering and analyzing data if you don’t use it. As you examine retention as an ERG metric, establish how that data will be used. And make sure to compare it against other data, such as retention rates for majority-culture employees. If there’s a huge discrepancy, you may have a large HR problem that needs to be solved.
5. Promotion Rates for ERG Participants
Our last, and perhaps one of our most important metrics to consider is the promotion rate for ERG participants. BIPOC and female workers, in particular, have historically been passed over when it comes to promotions. McKinsey & Company found that Black workers are 23% less likely to get “a lot” or “quite a bit” of support as they try to advance in their careers at companies. And a joint study by Yale, MIT, and the University of Minnesota found that female workers are less likely to get promoted because managers underestimate their capabilities.
ERGs can help participants not only network with leaders, but also display their skills. And once your company has established and measurable ERGs in place, it can more effectively track and tie ERG participation to promotion to determine if such participation creates the desired effect on DEI leadership goals.
How to measure promotion rates for ERG participants
First, let’s walk through a step-by-step explanation on how to establish the measurement criteria for promotion rates:
- Define the promotion metric: The first step is to define what promotion means in the context of the ERG program. For example, promotion could be defined as moving from an entry-level position to a management role or from a mid-level position to an executive role.
- Collect data: To measure promotion rates for ERG members, the HR leader needs to collect data on ERG membership, job titles, and promotion history. This data can be collected from the organization’s HR system.
- Calculate promotion rates: Once the data has been collected, the HR leader can calculate the promotion rate by dividing the number of ERG members who received promotions over a given period by the total number of ERG members. For example, if there were 100 ERG members at the beginning of the year and 10 of them received promotions by the end of the year, the promotion rate would be 10%.
- Analyze promotion rates: After calculating the promotion rates, the HR leader should analyze the data to identify any trends or patterns. For example, the data may show that ERG members from certain demographics or departments are more likely to receive promotions than others.
- Benchmark promotion rates: It’s important to benchmark the promotion rates of ERG members against the organization’s overall promotion rates to understand how the ERG program is impacting promotions. This can be done by calculating the organization’s promotion rate and comparing it to the ERG promotion rate.
What does this look like? Here’s a scenario for you.
Let’s say an HR leader is measuring the promotion rates of members of their organization’s Women’s in Tech ERG over a one-year period. They collect data on the job titles and promotion history of the 200 members who were part of the ERG at the beginning of the year.
After one year, they find that 30 ERG members have been promoted to higher-level positions within the organization. To calculate the promotion rate, the HR leader would divide 30 by 200, which equals 0.15 or 15%.
(Notice something similar? The way you calculate the promotion rate is effectively the same as how you would calculate the retention rate. You’re essentially looking dividing the number you’re looking at analyzing (promotions) by the total number of participants.)
The HR leader can then analyze the promotion rate data to identify any trends or patterns. For example, they may find that ERG members from certain departments or with certain job titles are more likely to receive promotions than others. By analyzing the data, the HR leader can identify areas of the ERG program that may need improvement to increase promotion rates.
Promotion data can be very revealing, and can lend itself to needed actions on the part of HR leaders. Let’s say the data shows that women and minorities in the ERG have lower promotion rates than others. The HR leader can then take action to address this issue, such as providing more training and development opportunities or implementing a mentoring program to support these employees’ career growth.
That last point is the most improtant: taking action.
Based on the promotion rate data and trends, HR leaders must respond by taking necessary actions to increase promotion rates for underrepresented groups working at the organization.
6. Measuring ERG ROI
Last, but definitely not least is measuring the ROI of your ERG programs. This one can get tricky, and perhaps might be controversial. After all, ERGs are at times seen as “soft” programs that shouldn’t necessarily prove the value of their existence in dollar form. Yet business realities exist. And any HR leader that wants to make sure their ERGs don’t face the chopping block of overzealous executives should determine how to effectively measure ROI.
ERG ROI is a measurment of the return on investment of that program. The ROI can be measured in many different ways. In fact, we’ve already covered two of the most improtant ROI metrics just above for ERGs: promotion rates and retention rates. These aren’t the only ways you can measure ROI for ERGs, however. You may also want to measure the ROI of your ERG software. Because ERGs work best when paired with structured software that help launch, manage, and measure those programs, you should have that ERG software ROI data handy.
How to measure ROI of ERG software
If you’ve ever measured ROI for any other type of program, you will hopefully find some similarities here. We’ll present this measurement example as a scenario that will illustrate how it works.
First, there are two terms you need to understand:
- ROI = (Net Gain / Cost of Investment) x 100
- Net Gain = Benefits – Costs
With that in mind, consider this. The net gain is calculated by subtracting the costs of the ERG software from the benefits it has generated. The benefits could include increased employee engagement, improved collaboration, or a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
For added perspective, let’s say your organization invests $100,000 in ERG software to improve diversity and inclusion. After implementing the software, you find that the ERG software has improved retention among ERG participants by an astounding 50%, resulting in a savings of $300,000 savings in recruitment and training costs over the next year.
Using the ROI formula, we can calculate the net gain as follows:
- Net Gain = Benefits – Costs Benefits = $300,000 (recruitment and training cost savings from increased employee retention)
- Costs = $100,000 (ERG software)
- Net Gain = $300,000 – $100,000 = $200,000
The ROI can then be calculated as follows:
ROI = (Net Gain / Cost of Investment) x 100 ROI = ($200,000 / $100,000) x 100 = 200%
In this example, the ROI is exceptionally positive at 200%. This means the ERG software has generated a very positive return on investment. As an HR leader, a 200% ROI is always going to look good. You can use that as a basis to roll out more ERG programs in a targeted and purposeful way with software on the backend securing and proving the success of your investment.
Don’t Rely on Manual ERG Metrics
Hopefully, this guide has helped you get started on measuring ERG metrics. You may have also noticed that properly measuring metrics for ERG programs requires a lot of work. ERG software takes out the hard work. With Diverst, you can not only launch your programs with ease, but you can also collect and analyze the type of data you need to prove exactly why ERGs matter.
Request a demo today to learn more about how Diverst can be your ERG superpower.