Easy Wins for Your ERG: Pride Edition

LGBTQ+ Pride Month is upon us, and it’s a time to celebrate the progress made and acknowledge the work yet to be done in our community. It also stands as the month in which LGBTQ+ focused Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are asked to drive their organizations’ recognition of Pride. 

While this task seems intimidating, we’re here to say it doesn’t need to be a lot of work! We have 5 easy ways that your ERG can make an impact.

1. Volunteer Time to Engage Local Communities

During Pride Month, LGBTQ+ employees and allies are looking for ways to get involved in community events to show their support. Instead of taking on the stress of event planning on your own, consider partnering with impact-driven organizations making a difference in your community. There are countless opportunities to work alongside existing LGBTQ+ non-profit organizations where your volunteer time will be welcomed and well spent.

Volunteering can happen in your neighborhood or online (with organizations like Goodera available to connect you with non-profits). For companies looking to provide a supportive environment that encourages community engagement, offering paid volunteer time off is a meaningful step forward.

2. Raise Internal Awareness

Use this month to raise awareness of both LGBTQ+ community contributions and your own contributions as an ERG! A combination of e-mail messages, social media campaigns, intranet postings, and digital signage can draw interest and help folks learn that your group is here to support LGBTQ+ employees and advocate on their behalf. 

We know that managing an ERG is a lot of work (that can oftentimes be overlooked and lead to burnout). One of the best ways you can prevent burnout is by recruiting and onboarding more ERG members across your company to support year-round programming. Use June as an opportunity to spotlight your mission as a group and drive ERG or mailing list signups.

To get started, draft a message themed around Pride that introduces your ERG and its goals, touches on the importance of LGBTQ+ Pride month, and provides a resource that folks can leverage throughout the June. We recommend incorporating PIOW’s LGBTQ+ Allyship checklist as a resource to invite new contacts into the conversation around workplace inclusion. Gain the support of internal communications teams to help push out this mailing, and be sure to include a call to action that prompts readers to sign up for an ERG mailing list or upcoming event.

3. Connect with Organizational Leaders

Pride Month can open the door to securing time with your organizations’ executives to discuss LGBTQ+ inclusion and the priorities of your ERG. Sponsorship from top leadership continues to be a key element to the success of any ERG. The more meaningful opportunities for engagement you can schedule, the better. Even if an invitation from leadership doesn’t come to you immediately, we encourage you to advocate for the time! 

4. Keep the Door Open to Virtual Events

With many pandemic-related restrictions eased, there’s an understandable rush to return to in-person events. For our ERGs, there can be immense value in reconnecting face-to-face and having shared experiences. However, that also means you’ll be juggling a much larger logistical lift.

Remember that you can still host valuable virtual events that make an impact and reach large audiences. In the past few years, we’ve picked up many virtual Pride Month ideas from organizers in the community. Don’t toss these aside – use them to inspire the content you plan as society moves back to hybrid and in-person celebrations.

5. Plan Ahead!

No matter what you do this Pride Month, one of the best outcomes of your efforts is to ensure that workplace conversations around LGBTQ+ equity and inclusion don’t end on July 1. Build momentum throughout June by rallying current members, recruiting allies, and kicking off meaningful dialogues that will re-energize your initiatives and help carry your work through the rest of the year. 

Need an added layer of ERG support? Reach out to the team at Pride in Our Workplace and let us know how we can help! Email info@piow.org to learn more.

<strong>Bryan Vermes </strong>
Bryan Vermes

Bryan Vermes (he/him) serves as the Global Senior Manager of Employee Experience and Social Impact at Mimecast, a cybersecurity company based out of Lexington, MA. In his writing, Bryan draws from his lived experience both as the Chair of Mimecast’s PRIDE (LGBTQ+) Employee Resource Group and an active member of PIOW’s Board of Directors.

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