Internal diversity groups can greatly impact company culture. Here is a look into these employee groups at 3 of the tech giants.
While recent movements in the past year have undoubtedly contributed to industry momentum and efforts, the issues of diversity and inclusion have always been prevalent in the tech industry.
In a survey conducted just May of 2021, around two-thirds of minority workers have reported experiencing bias in the workplace. As a matter of fact, while the same survey found that about half of tech workers have noticed an increase in focus and priority toward diversity and inclusion, the other half said that they thought tech companies could still do more.
Internal Diversity Groups, employee-led communities, and networks aimed at providing support for those from minority groups are one positive driving force in the movement toward greater workplace inclusion. Internal Diversity Groups are also known as Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Companies also have varying names for these groups. Stripe has “Stripe Communities” whereas Apple has “Apple’s Diversity Network Associations (DNAs).”
The following article will explore the benefits and impact of Internal Diversity Groups in top tech companies.
Stripe has received praise for its positive impact on the economy during the pandemic and received a plethora of press attention in the past year. Internally, it looks as if Stripe is doing just as well, if not better, with large collections of resources for employee growth and learning.
In addition, Stripe is home to 9 Stripe Communities:
More about these groups
Desi, Esea, and The Black Stripes share similar missions to support and promote the interests of those of Indian or South Asian descent, East or Southeast Asian descent, or those identifying as Black, African-American, or any other part of the African diaspora respectively.
Desi in particular is a key player in supporting Stripe employees as the company enters the Indian market. Additionally, Esea’s members can attend public speaking workshops and hear from prominent Asian entrepreneurs and technologists. The Black Stripes provides similar opportunities in addition to resources to help its members that face challenges in the workplace and beyond.
Like Desi, Esea, and The Black Stripes, Unidos provides a community for those of Hispanic or Latino descent. Similarly, Equate brings together those passionate about equality for women and non-binary people. Jew-ish and Interfaith are both communities fostering safe and open spaces for those with faith to have conversations and receive support.
Training programs and family events are a given for those in the Parents community, a group with a mission to support working parents in Stripe. Lastly, Rainbows invests in policy and partnerships to better support those identifying as LGBTQ+ and their allies.
Employee reports have shown that Stripe’s support of these employee groups is a clear indicator of the tech company’s dedication to promoting inclusion in its workplace. Not only do the above groups provide support networks for employees, but they also take that support a step further with company support and provide opportunities for professional and personal growth.
And the bad...
However, despite the many benefits and opportunities the Stripe Communities provide, current employee reports also show that there is still room for improvement. A key concern among employees is that of the lack of diversity in teams working in a global context. Employees have reported a desire for more support in recruitment initiatives and current employees with international backgrounds.
Perhaps an action for Stripe to take would be to spend more effort connecting employees of international backgrounds with their Stripe Communities. Additionally, Stripe could provide more corporate support for the Stripe Communities whether it is in the form of initiating partnerships with nonprofits and universities or providing financial support for more programs.
A company that is at the forefront of everyone’s minds when we say “big tech,” Google has unrefuted influence in the tech industry and unfortunately, a controversial history when it comes to promoting diversity and inclusion in and out of the workplace.
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In Google, Internal Diversity Groups are better known as ERGs and span internationally with 250+ chapters across the world.
Google has 15 ERGs. They are named as follows:
Many of these groups have similar focus points as the Stripe Communities groups
The Black Googlers Network has a mission of cultivating Black leaders and empowering communities. Africans@Google is a part of this network with a specific focus on helping create a community for those who identify as African at Google and bringing awareness to Google’s African-focused initiatives.
The Asian Googlers Network, Filipino Google Network, Hispanic Googlers Network, Indus Google Network, Iranians at Google, and Google American Indian Network share similar missions, with their purposes centering around providing communities and support for those sharing the same identities.
Women@Google is one of the largest networks in Google and, as its name indicates, provides opportunities for women to connect and develop as leaders. PRIDE at Google (previously known as Gayglers) and Trans at Google both focus on providing supportive and inclusive communities for those identifying as LGBTQ+ and their allies.
Finally, Google’s Interbelief Network aims to promote inclusivity and tolerance for Googlers’ diversity of faiths and beliefs while Greyglers creates a community for Googlers of a certain age. Greyglars in particular provides opportunities for employees to advocate for policy change and promote awareness of age diversity.
However, as much as Google’s support of its ERGs shows the tech giant’s efforts toward improving workplace inclusion and diversity, Google clearly still has quite a long way to go.
Just last year, Google was caught in a storm of criticism when it cut Sojourn, a well-liked diversity training program. Although the company officially stated that the reason behind this change was because the program was “too difficult to scale globally,” former employees have claimed that Google cut Sojourn to avoid being seen as anti-conservative.
And the good...
Regardless of the reasoning for cutting Sojourn, Google itself has come out to pledge new efforts to introduce new training programs for employees to promote diverse leadership.
More specifically, Google has pledged to increase the representation to 30% by 2025 by investing in areas around its Atlanta, Washington DC, Chicago, and London offices. Google rolled out several other initiatives including changes in hiring practices and committing $175 million to support Black business.
While the tech giant has a long road ahead in terms of promoting diversity and inclusion inside its workforce and out, Google’s recent actions are at least up to a good start.
In this day and age, it’s difficult to meet anyone who hasn’t heard of or doesn’t use one of Amazon’s many products. Therefore, examining what Amazon is doing to promote inclusion and diversity in its huge workforce becomes even more essential.
Amazon’s Internal Diversity Groups are called affinity groups and ERGs interchangeably. Like Google’s ERGs, Amazon’s affinity groups span globally.
Amazon has 13 affinity groups with the following names:
More about Amazon's ERGs
Indigenous@Amazon, Latinos@Amazon, Asians@Amazon, and the Black Employee Network share similar missions of providing support structures and networks for those identifying with minority communities. Specifically, the Black Employee Network(BEN) additionally focuses on the recruitment and empowerment of Black employees. BEN also partners with local chapters of the National Society of Black Engineers and Historically Black Colleges and Universities to recruit new talents.
Body Positive Peers promotes safe workspaces for customers and employees of all physical forms. Families@Amazon unites caregivers at Amazon, providing a network for them to foster growth and share knowledge. This group is especially welcoming to all family situations, encouraging its members to advocate for supportive policies in Amazon.
Like many of the other groups, Glamazon focuses on educating allies and providing support systems for those who identify as LGBTQ+. Glamazon even supported the creation of a Transgender Toolkit specifically made to aid managers and employees with navigating the workplace when going through a gender transition.
Amazon People with Disabilities builds a community for employees and customers with mental and/or physical disabilities, boasting a partnership in 2018 with the Special Olympics.
Mental Health and Wellbeing is Amazon’s newest affinity group and aims to reduce the stigma around mental health for employees. Warriors@Amazon supports employees and their families active in the military. Finally, Women@Amazon, Amazon Women in Engineering, and Women in Finance Initiative all share common goals to support women, non-binary employees, and their allies in tech, finance, and leadership development.
It's progress, but there is more work to be done
With its 13 affinity groups boasting a wide range of focuses, there is no doubt of Amazon’s commitment to diversity. Despite the efforts Amazon has and is currently making, even its departing CEO’s last letter to shareholders shows that there is much more progress to be made. Bezos himself wrote that he would be personally committed to reinventing initiatives to make Amazon a safer and better employer.
In addition to the challenges of employee safety, there remain questions of job security--particularly as increasing automation will affect employment prospects of traditionally disadvantaged and underrepresented groups. Of this, Amazon’s pledge to place more emphasis on the quality of work environment for its employees is a great start to hopefully more transformative initiatives.
👉 Read Next: What You Didn't Know About Amazon's Work Culture
It’s clear that Internal Diversity Groups are a necessity in tech companies, large and small. However, as we’ve seen in our deeper examination of the controversies and challenges Stripe, Google, and Amazon face when implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives, Internal Diversity Groups are not enough on their own. More support needs to be given to these groups which, as we’ve stated above, are voluntary and employee-led most of the time.
Companies must also invest in innovative hiring practices, increase partnerships with nonprofits and be open to those challenging their current policies. In this context, Stripe, Google, and Amazon are off to a good start. However, pledging new policies and initiatives is only the first step in moving toward inclusive and diverse workplaces.
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