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ERG - Employee Resource Group Guide

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Introduction

On this page you will be provided an overview of what is needed to start and sustain a GitLab ERG (Employee Resource Group)

Definition of an ERG - Employee Resource Group

ERGs are voluntary, team member-led groups focused on fostering diversity, inclusion and belonging within GitLab. These groups help team members build stronger internal and external connections; offer social, educational, and outreach activities; create development opportunities for future leaders; and increase engagement among team members.

What is not an ERG at GitLab

There are many types of groups and not all of them meet the criteria of being a GitLab supported ERG. Here are some examples of those that would not be considered ERGs here at GitLab:

NOTE: “GitLab supported ERG” means the group is formally recognized by the company as a GitLab ERG.

How to Join Current ERGs and their Slack Channels

The following groups have completed the process to be an ERG and received formal support as part of the DIB framework. Click the signup link (GitLab team members only) to join:

ERG Slack Channel Sign Up
GitLab Pride #lgbtq Sign up for future meetings (Google group)
GitLab Women+ #women Sign up for future meetings (google form)
GitLab MIT - Minorities in Tech #minoritiesintech Sign up for future meetings (google form)
GitLab DiversABILITY #diverse_ability Sign up for future meetings (google form)
GitLab Gender Minorities #gender-minorities-employee-resource-group Sign up for future meetings (Google group)

Benefits of ERGs

In general ERGs are an excellent support system and key to providing awareness, respect, and building diversity, inclusion and belonging within the workplace. These groups are a proven way to increase cultural competency, retention of team members, provide marketplace insights to the business, attract diverse talent, and more. The endorsement of ERGs gives team members the opportunity to identify common interests, and decide how they can be shared with others.

GitLab Benefits of ERGs

Team Member Benefits of ERGs

Forming an ERG

ERGs support our diversity, inclusion and belonging framework, maintain an open forum for the exchange of ideas, and serve as a source of educational and professional development opportunities for GitLab team members. It is expected that all GitLab supported ERGs will participate in initiatives that focus on the following group elements:

  1. ERG Member Development: Activities that further the development of group members. Examples could include:
    • Developing and delivering developmental opportunities for members
    • Potential career development events and activities
    • Identifying effective mentoring opportunities
    • Building a network of development resources that are easily accessible by members
  2. Outreach/Business Development: Connecting with groups beyond GitLab
    • Establishing internal and external business partnerships
    • Representing GitLab at industry events
    • Working with external communities to help GitLab achieve market presence and leadership brand
  3. Awareness and Education: Raising awareness and educating all team members.
    • Events/Initiatives that bring awareness and education of the ERG to the company
    • Engagement of Allies and GitLab team members with the ERG
  4. Recruiting/Retention: Promoting, growing, and developing the ERG group as a whole.
    • Establishing partnerships with universities and or STEM programs
    • Working with Recruiting to identify sourcing and recruiting opportunities
    • Creating initiatives that attract related diversity dimension talent.

Possible events:

Here’s What You Will Need to Get Started

Let's Get Started

Naming and branding for the ERG

All names, because they are visible externally and could compete with other projects, products and or not be a good representation of GitLab must be approved by Legal and Brand. You should work with the DIB Manager (Candace Williams cwilliams@gitlab.com) to gain a consensus on ideas. Keep in mind that names chosen by the ERG may not meet GitLab’s naming and branding standards and may need to be changed.

Defining your ERGs mission statement

A mission statement is the simplest and clearest way to explain the purpose of your group and how it will achieve its goals. Keep your mission statement short, and use simple terms that everyone understands. Finally, make sure the mission is flexible enough to allow for goals and activities to change over time. Below are some examples of mission statements used by similar groups at other companies:

Create a project

As with all GitLab business, we want to dogfood our own product. As such, you should consider creating a GitLab project to manage discussions in issue and update the repo with mission statement, events, and the like. You should create the repo in the gitlab-com group. To see a project in action, you can check out the GitLab Pride project.

Create a Google group

Managing membership will be greatly simplified by using a Google group. The main benefit is that you can invite the group to any calendar events and users can join or leave the group on their own. In order to create a Google group, you'll need to create an access request issue requesting a new group. There is a template you can use and you can view an example issue if you'd like. Once you've got the Google group created, you can add users manually or allow them to sign up on their own at the group homepage. You can look at the pride-erg for an example of what that might look like.

ERG Group Members

Membership in an ERG at GitLab is open to everyone, including full-time and part-time team members, interns, and contractors.

Members

A member is an active participant in the ongoing activities of an ERG. As a global company, the ways that members participate may vary based on location, culture, and preferences. Membership is open to both team members who identify with the diversity dimension that is the community’s focus and allies who wish to advocate and support the mission of the ERG.

Allies

An ally is someone who supports, empowers, or stands for another person or a group of people. Through our research, we have found it to be a best practice for all to be inclusive of ally support. When creating an ERG, planning activities, and engaging with members be sure to consider how allies will be involved.

An ally strives to…

As important as it is to define what an ally is in a positive way, it is also helpful to understand the boundaries of an ally's role.

An ally is NOT…

Adapted from Human Rights Campaign Establishing an Allies/Safe Zone Program, Human Rights Campaign

Additional resources on how to be an ally:

ERG LEADERS

Required of all ERG leaders:

Qualities of an ERG leader:

Roles Within the Group

Group Members - At GitLab we all contribute! Everyone has an opportunity to lead and provide feedback within the group.

Executive Sponsor (optional but recommended) - An executive GitLab team member who is responsible and accountable for strategic support of the group Share accountability for the success of the DIB group Participate as an active member of the DIB group Share information about the DIB group activities with other leaders Provide insight and guidance to DIB group as needed Partner with ERG leads on issues, concerns, and resource needs of the community May provide additional budget

Lead - A GitLab team member who is responsible and accountable for strategic direction and operations of the ERG

Co-Lead - A GitLab team member who supports the Lead in the strategy and operations of the ERG

Optional roles

While not required, we recommend establishing other leadership positions to ensure that the responsibilities of the Lead and Co-Lead remain realistic and success is achievable for the ERG. Here are some example roles we recommend for each ERG that reflect the 4 elements of focus listed above:

Leader of Professional Member Development: Activities that further the development of group members.

Leaders of Outreach/Business Development: Connecting with communities beyond GitLab

Leader of Awareness and Education: Raising awareness and educating all associates.

Leader of Recruiting/Retention: Promoting, growing, and developing the ERG as a whole.

How ERG leaders are selected

The election process should follow GitLab’s fiscal year calendar to ensure the roles are aligned to our strategy. Smaller or recently forming ERGs may choose not to have a formal election if membership can easily determine leadership.

It is important to monitor the ERGs size to recognize when it has grown too large for an informal election process. Larger ERGs (50 members or more) should use a formal selection process with nominations of some kind, summaries of each candidate’s qualifications shared with ERG members, votes taken on a set date, and vetting process etc as a suggestion but not required.

ERG leader terms of service

ERG leaders are suggested to commit at least one year to their leadership role, with the option for less if a situation arises or more if the ERG members at large would like. This can also be set up as a rotation of 6 months as well. The ERG can decide.

ERG leader succession

Leadership succession is critical to sustaining ERGs and keeping leaders energized. Ideally outgoing leaders will have and overlap with incoming new leaders by acting as advisors to ensure a seamless transition.

Research suggests developing the next generation of leaders for your ERGs by looking for members who have taken smaller roles in heading up committees or organizing events; speak with them about their interests and encourage them to take on more visible roles within the ERG.

Tools for ERG Leaders

These resources are here to help you effectively lead and grow an ERG.

Communications

Communication within ERGs keeps members aware of, involved with, and supportive of the group’s direction and activities. ERGs can use several inlets of communication tools outlined below to keep members informed about meeting times, structure, membership, and updates.

Communications resources

What to do If you’re asked to provide your opinion on behalf of GitLab

There may be times that you are asked to comment on the state of DIB at GitLab or your ERG. When or if that happens, please contact/notify PR, Talent Brand and the DIB Manager. Here are some general best practices that we share are helpful for all GitLab team members to know.

ERG Success measurement (Capturing Data)

Measuring the success of the ERG is important for the sustainability of the group and for ensuring the group’s effectiveness.

Members of the ERGs are encouraged to identify multiple ways the success will be tracked and measured over time. Here are some suggestions for measuring success:

Additional suggestions to measure success (may vary based on the state of the ERG):

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