What are LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Groups?
LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Groups are voluntary and employee-led groups within companies or organizations that provide support, resources, and a safe space for employees who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community. They exist to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and to help create a more welcoming environment for all employees.
Why LGBTQ+ ERGs?
Companies need Pride ERGs (Employee Resource Groups) to create a more inclusive and welcoming workplace environment for LGBTQ+ employees. These groups provide a support system for LGBTQ+ employees who may feel isolated or marginalized, and they offer a safe space for people to connect with others who understand their experiences.
According to a study conducted by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, companies with active LGBTQ+ employee resource groups had a more positive impact on the workplace experiences of LGBTQ+ employees compared to those without such groups. The study also found that companies with active Pride ERGs had higher scores on the Corporate Equality Index, a measure of workplace LGBTQ+ inclusion.
Benefits for the Organization
- Aid in the development of a more inclusive and welcoming workplace culture, where all the employees feel valued and respected. This leads to increased employee engagement, job satisfaction, and productivity.
- Help educate non-LGBTQ+ employees about the challenges faced by their LGBTQ+ colleagues, leading to increased understanding, empathy, and acceptance.
- Increase employee retention. When employees feel supported and valued in the workplace, they are more likely to stay with the organization long-term, reducing turnover costs.
- Can enhance the reputation of organizations that support LGBTQ+ employees through ERGs among customers, clients, and job seekers, by creating a positive brand image.
- Can help organizations demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion, which can help attract and retain a more diverse workforce.
Benefits for LGBTQ+ Employees
- Feel a sense of belonging and community at the workplace which reduces isolation, stress, and anxiety and promotes overall health and wellness.
- Helps create a more inclusive workplace culture, which can lead to better collaboration, increased creativity and innovation, and improved productivity.
- Create a space for professional development, such as training and mentoring, which can help to advance in their careers and achieve their goals.
- Can increase the visibility and representation of LGBTQ+ employees within the organization, which can help to break down stereotypes and promote understanding and acceptance.
- Serves as an advocate for LGBTQ+ employees and provides support when they face discrimination or harassment in the workplace.
Examples of LGBTQ+ ERGs and their Mission Statements
Now, let’s take a look at some successful LGBTQ+ ERG examples and their mission statements that can not only provide insights on why other organizations build Pride ERGs but also inspire your own ERG:
Glamazon is Amazon's LGBTQ+ employee affinity group and one of the 13 ERGs of Amazon formed in the year 2005. The group is open to all Amazon employees, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, and is designed to provide a safe and supportive space for LGBTQ+ employees. Their mission statement reads:
"We're dedicated to creating a culture of equality where all LGBTQ+ employees can be themselves, bring their whole selves to work, and do their best work every day."
Pride@Cisco is the LGBTQ+ employee resource group (ERG) at Cisco, one of the largest technology companies in the world. The ERG was founded in 1995 and has grown to become a global network of over 4,000 members across 25 countries. Pride@Cisco's mission is to create a diverse and inclusive workplace that values and celebrates the contributions of LGBTQ+ employees. Their mission statement reads:
"Our mission is to create an inclusive workplace environment where all employees, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression, feel valued and empowered to achieve their full potential."
Out@NBCUniversal is NBCUniversal's LGBTQ+ employee resource group (ERG) founded in 1986 making it one of Corporate America's oldest LGBTQ employee groups. NBC Universal is committed to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ employees. The ERG aims to provide a space where LGBTQ+ employees can connect, network, and find support. Their mission statement is as follows:
"We strive to create an environment that is supportive, inclusive, and welcoming for all LGBTQ+ employees and allies, and to promote awareness and understanding of LGBTQ+ issues throughout the organization."
LGBT+ Network, Microsoft:
LGBT+ Network at Microsoft is an ERG led by employees that aim to create a safe and inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ employees, as well as provide opportunities for professional development and community building. Their mission statement reads:
"The LGBT+ Network is an employee-led group at Microsoft dedicated to creating a safe, inclusive and diverse work environment for employees of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions. The Network provides opportunities for professional development, community building and visibility, and serves as a resource for Microsoft employees seeking to improve LGBT+ inclusivity and awareness."
Google Pride is one of the most well-known LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Groups in the world. It was founded in 2004, making it one of the first ERGs at Google. The group has partnered with organizations like the Human Rights Campaign to support initiatives such as the Equality Act and has also been involved in several high-profile initiatives, such as Google's public support for marriage equality in the United States. Its mission statement is as follows:
"To create an inclusive workplace environment where all employees can bring their authentic selves to work, and to support the LGBTQ+ community both within and outside of Google."
GLAM is an LGBTQ+ employee network, an Employee Resource Group at the investment banking firm Goldman Sachs. GLAM has received recognition for its work on LGBTQ+ issues, including being named one of the top LGBT+ employee networks in the United Kingdom in 2019. The organisation has also been involved in many high-profile events, including the London Pride Parade and the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index. Its mission statement reads:
"We're committed to promoting diversity and inclusion within Goldman Sachs, creating a supportive community for LGBTQ+ employees and allies, and driving positive change within the firm and the broader community."
Facebook Pride is the LGBTQ+ ERG at Facebook. This ERG organizes various events and initiatives throughout the year to support the LGBTQ+ community, including Pride Month celebrations, educational seminars, volunteer opportunities, and social events. Their mission statement reads:
"To create a workplace where LGBTQ+ employees feel valued, respected, and supported, and to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion both within Facebook and in the broader community."
IBM Pride is an Employee Resource Group for LGBTQ+ employees at IBM. IBM Pride provides a safe and supportive community for LGBTQ+ employees and allies, where they can connect, share their experiences, and support each other in their personal and professional growth. Its mission statement reads:
"To promote awareness, understanding, and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community within IBM and the broader community, and to support the personal and professional development of LGBTQ+ employees."
The Home Depot PRIDE
The Home Depot PRIDE Employee Resource Group is a group of Home Depot associates who identify as LGBTQ+ or as allies of the LGBTQ+ community. This PRIDE ERG helps to foster a workplace culture where all employees can bring their whole selves to work and feel valued and respected. Their mission statement reads:
"To create a safe and supportive community for LGBTQ+ employees, and to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within the company and the broader community."
American Airlines Pride
American Airlines Pride is an Employee Resource Group for LGBTQ+ employees and allies of American Airlines. This ERG plays an important role in creating a workplace culture where all employees, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, feel valued, respected, and supported. Its mission statement is as follows:
"To create a welcoming and inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ employees, customers, and partners, and to champion diversity and inclusion across the company."
How to start an LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group at your organization
The Steps to starting an LGBTQ+ ERG at your workplace include:
- Surveying your existing employees
- Setting up goals and missions
- Seeking executive sponsorship
- Recruiting members and electing leaders
- Setting Agenda
- Organizing your first meeting
Growing and Engaging Your LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group
Growing your ERG:
- Host open sessions and events
- Market your ERG
- Inform new employees
- Collaborate with other ERGs
Engaging your ERG:
- Organize meetings and reviews
- Host engagement activities
- Build an annual volunteering calendar