A Guide to Involving Distributed Workforces in ERGs

Anisha Nandi
Anisha Nandi
Co-Founder, CEO


Distributed workers (like frontline workers, deskless workers or remote workers) are often a difficult yet ever-important population to reach with our ERG efforts. Common types of distributed workers are employees that are working out of warehouses, facilities, plants, or are in a gig-capacity such as drivers. 

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) help employees feel connected, find relevant resources / benefits and create cross-functional impact at their organization. For the volunteer-employees that lead these groups, it can also be a fantastic professional development opportunity.

However, a big question that Program Managers are asking is, “how do we include our growing distributed workforces in these groups?” 

There are often complicated compliance and legal considerations around distributed workers who are often designated as “non-exempt” being involved in volunteer, culture-oriented efforts. And yet, these distributed workforces are full of employees that could benefit greatly from ERGs, especially when you consider the large portion of minority or underrepresented groups within this population.

Who wrote this?

Verbate is a company all about giving ERGs the community, skills and tools they need to thrive. We work with hundreds of ERG Leaders from all different types of companies around the world, and we’re incredibly passionate about building community between these leaders. You can check out our ERG Leadership Community which connects leaders across the space, trains & certifies them, and gives them year-round resources. If you want to get to know us, you can sign up for our free monthly meet up built specifically for DEIB Program Managers. 

Considerations & Tips

Here are some tangible and actionable tips to help engage your distributed workforces via your ERGs:

Consideration: Hourly Workers

Many distributed workers may not be salaried, so they may be clocking in and out of their days and getting paid on their hours. This means they may be more hesitant, or maybe not approved, to use those hours on ERG-related efforts. 


  • Create resources that can be opted-into asynchronously and accessed when they most need them. Such as a resource library they can explore with benefits they already have access to but may not be aware of. 
  • Work with managers to get buy-in for an allotted amount of time per week, month or quarter that they can use on ERG-related events. DEIB and People teams can help facilitate the discussion of why these efforts are important and how they lead to overall team and company success.

Consideration: Workplace Locations

Distributed employees may work out of:

  • Warehouses
  • Distribution Centers
  • Manufacturing Plants
  • On-site facilities
  • Customer Service Hubs
  • Vehicles (i.e. drivers)
  • Regional Branches  


  • Meet your employees where they are. This means providing those asynchronous resources in a break room, or giving out information during shift changes. Knowing where and when is best to communicate with them is key to raising awareness of ERG-related efforts that could be useful to them.
  • Create unique efforts that super-serve their needs. They might not be able to attend in-person, HQ-based efforts. Consider creating virtual options like viewing parties for them to get-together with their colleagues and benefit from ERG efforts in a way that fits within their schedule and locale. 

Consideration: Building Bridges with HQ  

There is often a disconnect between corporate / HQ and distributed workforces. This might result in miscommunication, and sometimes even tension. Being able to build authentic relationships is key to success. 


Utilize champions and liaisons who are embedded in these workforces. To put it bluntly, employees don’t appreciate when leaders “parachute in” without learning about their unique set of considerations, working conditions and culture. If you can find someone who is already on the ground everyday alongside these folks (i.e. a plant manager, a regional director, etc.) work closely with that champion to build authentic, long-lasting relationships with this population. You can also learn longitudinally much more effectively through this liaison about this set of employees’ needs and sentiments. 


  • Create resources that are accessible in different work environments 
  • Find your employees where they are to give them resources 
  • Utilize liaisons & champions on the ground 

Following these key steps will enable you to learn what your distributed workforce needs from your ERGs, and how you can serve them. 

Want to learn more and figure out how to support your ERG Leads? Check out Verbate’s ERG Leadership Community

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