Tag Archives: Employee Resource Groups

Happy Pride Week!

27 Jun

If you live in the Toronto area, Happy Pride Week!
The rainbow flag is everywhere – a great opening to talk about LGBTQ issues.

Even sweeter this week is the US Supreme Court’s ruling on same sex marriage – making it legal in 13 US states and DC. There are 30+ states in which it is still illegal, but this is a big step.

And while that is big news for the citizens of those US states, and another victory for LGBTQ rights worldwide, let’s not forget that we all contribute to victories like this by adding our voices, and being allies.

Some of you work in companies that have LGBTQ Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), or whose companies are interested in corporate social responsibility. Here is a great video on LGBTQ safer schools that I just saw and think is amazing. It’s from PFLAG, and it’s part of a partnership with Johnson & Johnson in the USA.

But if your ERG or your corporate social responsibility department is looking for a worthwhile project – this is a great example of what is possible. LGBTQ youth (and those perceived to be LGBTQ) are not feeling safe in school. The statistics are staggering. In Canada, you can call Egale Canada. They are doing amazing work with their Safer Schools Campaign, to help make schools safer for LGBTQ kids.

Get involved! Help make a difference!

Happy Pride!

See more.

Copyright 2013 Annemarie Shrouder
Author, Speaker and Facilitator on issues of Diversity & Inclusion.


LGBT-Inclusive Workplaces

18 Nov

This week’s article in the Toronto Star about the changes in Canadian workplaces for LGBT employees is encouraging. It is good to hear from large corporations who are making a difference in the daily lives of their LGBT employees. 

In our quest to further inclusion, invisible diversity is often much harder to address because we don’t see it. For lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans-identified employees there is another layer: fear. What will change when people know? Will I be safe? Comments like “that’s so gay” and homophobic jokes (as well as silence about these rather than clear messages of inappropriateness) poison the work environment for LGBT people and send a message that it’s not safe to be out. For workplaces to be safe for LGBT employees there needs to be solid expectations about zero tolerance for homophobia, transphobia and heterosexism in policy and practice, awareness-raising, and support.

The Toronto Star article mentions several examples of  how to move towards more LGBT inclusive workplaces: Employee Resources Groups with executive champions (RBC), forums to discuss what it feels like to be LGB or T in the workplace (IBM), supporting community initiatives (TELUS), and including relevant benefits (TD). Strategies and commitments such as these help increase visibility, and create awareness and opportunities for dialogue that enable us to make the changes necessary for the inclusion of LGBT colleagues in our workplaces.

Leadership, of course, is key; without commitment from leadership, these programs lack the impact necessary to help create lasting change.

Hats off to the companies listed in this article, and their employees who are helping to make LGBT inclusive workplaces a reality across the country!

See more.

Copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder
author, speaker and facilitator on issues of diversity & inclusion

What we can learn from Google

4 Oct

I have recently been reading about Google and their commitment to diversity and inclusion. Some of the things I’ve been reading make my heart sing, so I thought I’d share.

Google has Employee Resource Groups  (ERGs) for different communities (Asian, Black, LGBT, Latin American, employees with disabilities and women). The great thing about these ERGs is that they provide a place for employees who share an identity to come together to talk, learn and support each other, as well as creating magic internally and externally like:

– community-specific outreach
– speakers series to empower and inspire employees
– internal education and awareness
– helping shape company policy
– building external presence
– input on products and workplace issues
– supporting education initiatives

What strikes me most is the encouragement of employees to come up with ways Google can make a difference in communities, and their understanding that their staff help them to understand their customers better.

Google’s revenue continues to increase. What does that tell you?

But that’s largely external. Often companies start on the outside, and their internal environment isn’t part of the vision. Well, when I read: “At Google, being yourself is a job requirement”, I almost wept.

Sounds like they “get it”.

How would a culture like this transform your organization?
Who could you be at work, if you worked for a company like Google?

See more.

copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder
author, speaker and facilitator on issues of diversity and inclusion

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