Employees that Participate in Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) Experience Higher Psychological Safety and are More Likely to be Highly Engaged at Work

Workhuman, the company revolutionizing how employees celebrate, connect with, and appreciate each other in the workplace, announced the publication of its latest Workhuman iQ research report, The Evolution of Work. The goal of this report was to understand the kaleidoscope of the global employee experience in today’s workplace environment and how it, as well as employee recognition, has impacted groups of employees differently. One of the key experiences highlighted in the report is participation in Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).

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“Our research over time has repeatedly found that recognition is strongly related to higher levels of psychological safety, an important indicator of belongingness and acceptance at work”

Report findings show that employees who participate in an ERG experience higher psychological safety, and are more likely to be highly engaged, to know their organization’s values, and to recommend their organization to a friend. However, employees in ERGs report higher levels of stress and burnout than those who don’t participate. Further, one-third of employees in ERGs report being treated unfairly for their participation in the group. This feeling of unfair treatment increases sharply for Black employees and LGBTQIA+. This finding is especially remarkable for what is meant to be a company-sponsored resource. What’s often missing is recognition for their work.

“Our research over time has repeatedly found that recognition is strongly related to higher levels of psychological safety, an important indicator of belongingness and acceptance at work,” said Dr. Isha Vicaria, People Data Analyst, Workhuman iQ. “Digging deeper into the experiences of employees involved in ERGs, we see those who participate have higher levels of psychological safety, which fits with the missions of most ERGs, which are to provide a workplace community that celebrates shared experiences and goals. When these employees work in an organization with a recognition program, they are more likely to say that their work is visible to the rest of the organization. This is huge because recognition has the power to strengthen ERGs by giving more attention to and appreciation for the people doing the work, who go largely unnoticed and uncompensated for these important contributions.”

The Evolution of Work report also explored the connection between preferred ways of ways of working and its impact in the workplace. Interesting findings include:

  • How much say do employees have in their work arrangements? Overall, 66% of respondents say their work arrangement is their preference. Senior leaders (74%) were more likely to work in their preferred arrangement, while employees in the beginning stages of their career were less likely (57%). Nearly one-fourth of on-site workers reported their work arrangement is not their preference.
  • How satisfied are employees with their way of working? Remote workers are the most satisfied with their arrangement (87%), followed by hybrid (67%) and on-site workers (60%).
  • How do preferred ways of working impact employees? The 20% of the survey sample that indicated that their work arrangement is not their preference scored lower on literally every single positive workplace outcome studied – most notably: lower connection, productivity, and hope for career growth. Across all ways of working, employees who had a say in their work arrangement had lower stress levels.

Additional topics covered in the research report include job security/insecurity, company culture, the Human Workplace, and employee recognition at large, in addition to global breakdowns and comparisons.

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Workhuman iQ polled more than 4,100 full-time employees in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Canada for the Evolution of Work research report. This is the 15th iteration of Workhuman’s white paper research, and the most diverse population sampled so far. In addition to the most expansive survey fielded, it’s also the deepest foray into some of the intricacies and intersections of the employee experience.

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