Carnegie Mellon University
ERG co-leads during Zoom meeting

Employee Resource Groups

Employee resource groups (ERGs) are groups formed by members of an organization with the overarching purpose to unite individuals to a common cause and to provide a structured framework for awareness opportunities for members. Additionally, ERGs serve the purpose of acting as a conduit for outreach efforts for the local community and for other campus initiatives. 

To join an ERG, please submit a membership form. Individual membership in ERGs is strictly voluntary; open to all interested individuals; and promotes diversity, equity and inclusiveness. Refer to the ERG Guidelines [pdf] for more information.

Mission Statement

The mission of the employee resource groups (ERGs) is to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion as a strategic tool to encourage cultural awareness and community engagement within Carnegie Mellon University. The ERGs will act as spaces that influence a non-bias culture and encourage inclusive collaboration, equity and awareness, while understanding the thoughts and ideas of the various racial, ethnic and generational members of campus.

How ERGs Work

Executive Sponsorship and Staff Ombudsperson's Role

In order for ERGs to be successful, CMU's leadership must remain engaged and committed to the long-term sustainability of the groups. To encourage this, a senior advisory committee (SAC) made up of vice presidents, vice provosts and deans has been created. The SAC signals to employees that CMU is committed to diversity and inclusion. SAC members serve as champions who promote ERGs to other leaders and staff as well as provide guidance, funding, mentoring, visibility, networking, and assistance in reaching goals and communicating progress. This support will aid the ERGs in their achievements, credibility and longevity.

The staff ombudsperson provides guidance and resources to help facilitate the establishment of ERGs. They also provide structure to ensure successful establishment, organization and longevity, and facilitate funding requests. Once established, it is the ERG's responsibility to determine and adhere to the operational and funding policies established by the group.

ERGs vs. Special Interest Groups

Employee Resource Groups Special Interest Groups
  • Groups united by a common cause and to provide a structure framework and network for members
  • ERGs allow employees with commonalities to meet, support each other and produce a particular outcome that helps improve your business and their job satisfaction. These commonalities may include: race, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, or social/economic causes
  • Mission/goals of group aligned with those of the organization
  • Advocacy is a key component of an ERG
  • Employee led with organizational support via executive sponsorship and a budget
  • Voluntary membership
  • Open to all interested individuals — even those who may not share commonalities (for example, a women’s ERG may include men who wish be allies and support the goals of the group)
  • Groups united by a common interest, hobby or activity
  • Goals of group are related to interest and not related to the organization
  • Groups meet to engage in shared interest or activity
  • Voluntary membership
  • Employee led — organization does not offer sponsorship or a budget, but may allow employees to meet in shared workspaces
  • While open to all, membership is typically dominated by members who share the common interest or participate in the hobby/activity

Other Opportunities

CMU has established employee affinity groups and a multitude of student organizations that represent a wide range of interests. For example, the Carnegie Mellon Women's Association connects and supports campus community members through networking opportunities, social gatherings and educational programming throughout the year.