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Recognizing the Work of our Employee Resource Strategy Group Leaders

Unqork's Netta Jenkins (VP, Global Inclusion in Operations) explores the value of Unqork's Employee Resource Strategy Groups (ERSGs) and the leaders who guide them.

At Unqork, our Employee Resource Strategy Groups (ERSGs) are foundational to our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts. These groups help foster a sense of belonging and provide personal and professional development opportunities for Unqorkers from underrepresented groups that have often been disenfranchised in the workplace. Beyond this individual support, our ERSGs impact the entire Unqork community through education, encouraging allyship and ensuring that all of our different lived experiences are recognized and celebrated. 

The value of ERSGs is not unique to Unqork. While only a fraction of companies have such groups, those that do see an overwhelming impact. In a recent survey of women in the workplace, 90% of respondents said that being part of an employee resource group (ERG) made their lives better at work. Across industries, ERGs play a crucial role in recruiting, welcoming and supporting a diverse workforce and advocating for equitable company policies. 

In a recent survey of women in the workplace, 90% of respondents said that being part of an employee resource group (ERG) made their lives better at work. Across industries, ERGs play a crucial role in recruiting, welcoming and supporting a diverse workforce and advocating for equitable company policies. 

These benefits aren’t implicit—they are the result of continued commitment from the leaders of these groups to do the work every day. Our ERSG leaders dedicate additional time and energy to Unqork on top of their “day job,” often working longer hours or on the weekends to make it all happen. This is an additional burden for individuals who already shoulder the burden of being from a group that is underrepresented in the workplace. 

But ERSGs aren’t “extracurriculars.” Their work is central to Unqork’s success, and it should be recognized as such. That’s why Unqork’s ERSG leaders will now be compensated for the extra hours they dedicate to this work. Leaders will receive a quarterly stipend based on the estimated number of hours associated with their role. To ensure transparency and fairness, the “rate” (stipend total divided by hours) has been standardized across all ERSGs and all roles. 

Separate from individual compensation, all ERSGs receive $25,000 in funding. Each ERSG can use these funds at their discretion, towards internal educational efforts and events, external programming, and donations to relevant causes. At Unqork, our ERSGs often choose to support each other with this funding. For example, our Caregivers ERSG partnered with our BIPOC ERSG, Chocolatey, to support Black History storytelling throughout February. Latinx ERSG, Mucho Amor, made a donation to Blacks in Technology on behalf of Chocolatey. Leadership in each ERSG meet regularly to share strategy on what’s effective and what needs more work. To ensure there is buy-in at the executive level, each ERSG has an executive sponsor who joins weekly meetings and champions the group’s work.

Only a handful of companies have taken the step towards compensating ERG leaders. We prioritized this change because we believe it is one of the most direct and effective ways to support diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We hope this will drive further awareness of the significant contributions our ERSGs make to our communities as part of their work to improve DEI.

We thank our ERSG leaders for all that they do to help foster an inclusive environment for everyone as we continue to work hard to build better at Unqork. 

 

About the Author

Netta Jenkins is the VP of Global Inclusion at Unqork. She is a leading voice in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion field whose soaring audience engagement was doubtless a key factor in Forbes naming her as one of the top 7 anti-racism consultants in the world. An acclaimed author with a deep background in communications, leadership, and behavioral psychology, Netta has been advising corporations and audiences of all kinds for years on the most effective strategies to address systemic gaps in the workplace, its traumatic impact, and the path to change.

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