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How to start a LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group at your company

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The LGBTQ+ community, particularly of Generation Z, is increasingly selective when choosing their workplace, favoring inclusive companies that clearly and unambiguously support their rights and starting an Employee Resource Group within the company could be a response to this. 

According to Indeed’s new report, nearly a third of queer workers have turned down a job application because they felt the company was not supportive of LGBTQ+ workers. And 50% of transgender workers have not applied for a job for the same reason. Many companies have already seen this consequence and have the willingness to spend more budget and backing on diversity, empowerment and inclusion issues. However, many initiatives are still faced with the problem of authenticity and mistrust among the employees.

A relatively straightforward and self-reinforcing initiative to create an inclusive and supportive experience for all are Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). And in this article, we explore what ERGs are and how you can set one up for your company.

What are LGBTQ+ ERGs?


LGBTQ+ ERGs are voluntary and employee-led groups within organizations that provide support, resources for employees who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community. You can set up these groups at any size company and with a range of budgets, making them highly customizable to individual needs.

LGBTQ+ ERGs provide a safe place for employees to contribute to conversations and raise awareness of LGBTQ+ inclusion. Not only do they provide a supportive community, but they also advocate for inclusive policies and drive positive change within their organizations. We also see that the presence of ERGs is a driving force for the implementation and communication of specific employee benefits. This means it significantly increases the utility rate for benefits, making them more inclusive and accessible to all.

How to start an ERG?


Here are the basic steps based on a guide by Goodera to starting a LGBTQ+ ERG, and really anyone can start the initiative in the company and prepare to propose it to management. Of course, the more people who participate in the early process, the better the chances that the initiative can actually be approved and launched. Let’s get started.

Step 1: Understand your LGBTQ+ community

Before you do anything, you should first talk to many other colleagues in the community about whether and what challenges they are facing in the workplace to understand the causes of the problems. You can also start with a more formal employee survey in different channels to get the overall sentiment, real facts about the community and interest in the ERG. Coordinate with your management team and feel free to reach out to your HR department during this process. They will eventually help you to gather data on recruiting, retention and performance numbers to formulate your proposal and prepare a chain of reasoning to legitimize the creation of a new ERG.

Step 2: Setup your ERG mission statement

Define a mission statement, specific objectives and a charter for your ERG. These should include qualitative and quantitative indicators of performance and a short paragraph of 4-5 lines outlining the need and purpose of the ERG.

Here are some examples:

“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.” – Glamazon@Amazon

“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.” – OUT@NBC Universal

“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.” – Google Pride

Step 3: Seek executive sponsorship and support

For comprehensive organizational and financial support, you will need to find a sponsor. To prepare, create a plan for the ERG organization, upcoming events and activities, and proposed budget based on the above data. Look for suitable individuals in the management in your company and present in an e-mail what you are trying to achieve and what the group is about. Arrange a meeting with the management level and prepare a convincing argument for your ERG that you have prepared so far.

Step 4: Grow and plan ahead

If you have the green light, congratulations! Now you can really get started with recruitment and execution. Involve different stakeholders with different points of view and communicate your existence throughout the organization. In particular, involve allies. Set specific quarterly goals for planning activities and events so that the group becomes a fully integrated and central part of the organization in a straightforward way.

Introducing and communicating a new or existing employee benefit that targets the specific needs of the LGBTQ+ employee group, such as fertility benefits, can be a good project to start with. At Apryl, we offer fertility benefits ranging from initial consultations and diagnostic testing to treatments such as IUI, IVF and egg and sperm freezing, ensuring that all employees receive the support they need, regardless of their circumstances. Book a demo to find more about how our service can work for your next project.

Get engaged in the LGBTQ+ community and get loud – make your workplace inclusive and supportive!

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