When either starting or maintaining an employee resource group, it is important to consider the support you will need, possible negative reactions, and the goals of the group.
Find the organization’s policy toward such groups – does it recognize them or provide support? If so, what are the required steps for establishing the group? If there is no process in place for forming groups, ask if you can create one. Then, find a few people interested in forming a group to address LGBT workplace issues – you’ll have considerably more success if there more than two of you.
Goals and mission
Write a mission statement for your group, formulate and prioritize goals for the short and long-term. Examples of initial goals include focusing on the employer’s LGBT-related policies and recommendations for improvement in that area and evaluating the LGBT-inclusiveness of the organization’s diversity training programs. Draw up a tentative plan to accomplish your goals and draft a budget.
Possible goals for an employee resource group:
- Encourage your employer to improve its policies and practices and participate in the Corporate Equality Index
Corporate Equality Index Rating Criteria
Advocating for LGBT equality in your workplace
- Establish a mentoring program to enhance leadership skills, particularly for younger employees.
- Push for the company’s chief executive officer to publicly endorse LGBT-inclusive legislation.
- Identify opportunities for business to engage LGBT consumers (e.g.: obtaining a booth at a LGBT pride event, launching a LGBT-inclusive advertising campaign and strategic philanthropy to GLBT organizations)
- Identify opportunities to recruit LGBT employees (e.g.: LGBT recruiting fairs, working with LGBT groups at local universities and strategic philanthropy to LGBT organizations)
Don't forget to give the group a name that includes all of its members.
Make it clear that group membership is open to all employees, and thus complies with your organization’s anti-discrimination policies and applicable law. Many employers make it a point for the executive champion of a particular ERG to not be a member of that group.