Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and inclusion

Alexisse Yoo (she/her)
Tuesday 21 June 2022

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) can be incredible professional communities that further equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) within an organisation.

Throughout the month of June, Alexisse Yoo (she/her), who is a rising third-year undergraduate student and the Careers Centre’s EDI Intern, is writing a blog series on EDI-focused topics and issues in the workplace. This is the second post in that series. To read her first post, visit: Celebrating Pride Month and identifying LGBTQ+ inclusive employers. To read her third post, visit Active allyship: microaggressions and discrimination in the workplace.

Similar to Students’ Representative Council subcommittees like Saints LGBT+, BAME Students’ Network, and the Disabled Students’ Network, ERGs create space within a workplace for employees with shared characteristics or life experiences, and aim to provide support to members and create structural change from within an organisation. ERGs can allow underrepresented groups to have a more active role in decision-making within the organisation while creating community for its members.

Many employees find this mission-oriented work extremely rewarding, both personally and professionally, and membership in ERGs can have a broader positive effect on someone’s career by offering opportunities to develop different skills and to engage in discussions with management.

In addition, being actively supported by a community of colleagues and mentors directly improves employee wellbeing and increases performance in the workplace. As Stonewall notes, it is difficult, especially in an LGBTQ+ context, to devote one’s full attention to work while also using energy to hide one’s identities. Overall, ERGs drive innovation and meaningful change as they allow employees to shape organisational policy more actively.

If you participate in or lead an ERG, it’s important to document the work you do. Employees’ responsibilities or labour associated with ERGs, such as running internal events, assisting with recruitment, or communicating with management, can be undervalued by organisations, despite it being meaningful work and often requiring work outside of everyday duties. Documenting your work can be useful when it comes time for performance reviews or pay raise opportunities, and it is excellent experience to highlight in a job application and interview. Also, documenting and sharing your work with an ERG makes inclusive action more visible within the workplace.

Examples of ERGs by sector

Many companies and organisations have ERGs with an LGBTQ+, BAME, or accessibility focus, and some may also have groups for social issues like sustainability. There are also professional networks outside of individual companies that can provide similar support and promote changes across a sector.


  • Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP partners with Glass Network Scotland to contribute to LGBTIA employees’ and allies’ professional development. The firm also runs an LGBTIA Role Models programme that highlights queer professionals’ achievements and experiences. Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP was the highest-ranked Scottish law firm on Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers List.
  • The LGBT+ Lawyers Division is a subgroup of the Law Society that forms a professional community for LGBT+ lawyers across the UK.

Higher Education

Accountancy, banking, and finance

  • Lloyds Banking Group’s Rainbow Network has over 5,000 members and forms a community for LGBTQ+ employees to network, develop, and be supported. Additionally, Lloyds was the first UK-based company to provide gender-affirming healthcare to employees under its Private Medical Benefit.


  • Pearson has ten employee-led ERGs that involve age, accessibility, BAME, caregivers’, LGBTQ+, and women’s inclusion in the workplace.

Public services and administration

  • The Civil Service have an LGBTQ-focused ERG that supports queer employees and allies in networking and professional development, as well as others that address disability, neurodiversity, religion, and working styles.

Environment and sustainability

  • The Environment Agency has been recognised for its dedication to inclusion and was also recognised in Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers list. Its 22 ERGs seek to address BAME, LGBTQ+, disability, mental and physical health, and faith inclusion in the workplace.

Science and pharmaceuticals

  • Johnson & Johnson has five ERGs in the UK dedicated to neurodiversity, BAME inclusion, professional development, LGBTQ+ inclusion, and gender equality.

If you are interested in setting up an ERG at your workplace, Stonewall provides this resource on establishing LGBTQ+ network groups.

To everyone in the LGBTQ+ community this Pride Month, I hope this is a joyous and safe month for you, whether you are out publicly, privately, or not at all. If you want to discuss any of the topics in this blog post, or being open about your identities at work, please book an appointment with a careers adviser.

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