Company Employee Resource Groups (ERG’s), Employee Affinity Groups (EAG) and employee network groups are well established in most businesses today. ERG’s consist of different ethnicities, different genders, and different sexual orientations. The purpose of ERG’s is to simultaneously advance the careers of their members and the performance and the well-being of the company they are employed at. ERG’s help the company and they help the company’s employees.
Employee Resource Groups began to slowly populate across corporations large and small over the past two to three decades. Military Veteran ERG’s or Military Veteran affinity groups began about a decade ago and have taken off over the past three to five years. There are a number of ways to establish, build, and grow a military veteran ERG at your company.
Here are Five Ways to Build a Military Veteran ERG at your Company
#1 – Meet with Existing ERG’s. One of the best ways to establish a military veteran ERG in your company is to meet and learn from existing ERG’s in your company. Most companies have a fairly complex and time-consuming administrative process to justify, approve, and create a new ERG. Learning from and following the lessons from those that have already created and validated an ERG is the best way to follow through. An additional benefit is that when existing ERG’s support and recommend the formation of a new ERG for military veterans, it makes the process easier.
#2 – Create Content Focused on Career Advancement. To build membership quickly, offering content based on how to advance and improve careers is one of the most appropriate and asked about content for ERG members. Content that improves interview skills, helps members learn about other departments, content that creates mentor-mentee relationships for personal improvement, and resume workshops are increasingly in demand. Finally, a way to expand value throughout the company is to offer career workshops to all ERG member groups, not just military veteran ERG members. Sharing content with other ERG’s promotes the military concept of teamwork and improvement.
#3 – Tell the Value of Military Skills for Business Through History. As a rule, nearly everyone loves learning about military history. World War II is an area of high interest that has a lot of content potential that translates easily from military history into business and leadership lessons. The Red Ball Express, a US Army African-American logistical unit that provided critical supplies during the Battle of the Bulge counter attacks, tells the story of teamwork, leadership by example, the critical importance of logistics, and the value of training. These business lessons related through the stories of the Red Ball Express during World War II show the lessons of business from history, the value that diversity brings to create high performing teams, and educates employees on a critical period of US history.
#4 – Translate Military Skills Into Business Use. Military veterans transitioning into a company or Guard / Reserve military personnel returning from deployment all need assistance translating and applying their military skills to meet business challenges. There are immediate ways to apply military safety procedures to make a company’s operations safer, ways the military contracts for services and receives bids for new business that a company can use for improved purchasing, or how a military coaching session of the Task, Condition, Standard, and Observed Performance can be used to improve employees. There are an immense number of uses for military skills in business – a military veteran ERG helps all military members benefit from military skill sets.
#5 – Make a Place for All Employees. One of the best ways to expand and build an ERG is to make a dedicated and unique place for non-military veterans. There are a large number of employees that want to learn about the military, help military veterans transition effectively, and learn military skill sets they can apply to their careers. Have a place for non-military veterans in the military veteran ERG to expand the membership base and employee advocates for the military veteran ERG.
Military Veteran Employee Resource Groups expand military veteran skill sets, help retain and attract military veteran employees, and bring new skills to make the company better. Military Veteran ERG’s are a critical business asset to help a company succeed.
Does your company have a Military Veteran Employee Resource Group? How has that group assisted in integrating into corporate culture?
About the blogger:
Chad is the author of two books: (1) Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and (2) Battlefield to Business Success. Chad’s brand message is that organizations & individuals need to translate and apply military skills to business because they immediately produce results and are cost effective. Chad is a retired US Army Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel with 20+ years of Active and Reserve service in infantry, Special Forces, and joint headquarters units. He served in Iraq, Bosnia, Korea, and throughout the United States. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Special Forces Tab, and the Ranger Tab. Chad is an adjunct Lecturer of Marketing at Creighton University in Omaha, NE. In addition to teaching, he is a mid-level marketing executive and has worked in marketing and sales roles for various companies, including General Electric, Comcast, and Manugistics. He has been published in over 110 different articles in over 85 separate publications including The Harvard Business Review blog, Business Week Online, Forbes, Christian Science Monitor, and USA Today. He has a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University.
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