Thriving in 2020: employee resource groups cultivate our culture

December 18, 2020
Kim Graham

When it came to sustaining our employees beyond the necessities of work, our employee resource groups (ERGs) stepped up reconnect us in crucial ways and became essential to strengthening our new virtual culture.

Despite the social distancing, ERGs creatively continued their collective mission to foster diversity and inclusion efforts. In addition to numerous virtual happy hours and informative talks, our ERGs stayed active with these important activities and initiatives that impact our employees and our society as a whole in 2020, like:

  • BOLD, the ERG for Black employees, created and shared a video series in which local Black leaders and professionals shared their experiences in corporate America.
  • PRIDE, for LGBTQ+ employees and their allies, organized a month-long virtual Pride celebration in June that featured testimonials from company leaders and wrapped with a virtual Porch Party streamed to Facebook Live.
  • Conexion, which celebrates Hispanic culture, observed Hispanic Heritage Month virtually with weekly shares of Hispanic heroes, culture, language, and cooking classes as well as a campaign to support some Hispanic families that recently moved to the region.
  • BEAD, for employees with disabilities and their supporters, hosted panels and discussions during Mental Disability Awareness Week as well as a series of cooking classes.
  • VALOR, for Veterans and their supporters, hosted an inspiring talk with Ret. Army General Rick Lynch, a virtual event attended by more than 70 employees. Several members of the VALOR ERG canvassed a local cemetery over a month and then placed flags at veteran graves there for Veterans Day.

All of our employee resource groups found ways to keep their members connected with each other and with the community through other virtual events and volunteer work.

The pandemic transformed the workplace as we knew it in early 2020, shifting overnight to a work-from-home environment that practically erased the social interaction of the shared workspace, canceling casual conversations on the elevator, group lunches, and team meetings. The employee resource groups tackled our new work-from-home silos and proved that connections are made stronger when we embrace the diversity in our employees, customers, and community.

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