Members of Automattic’s neurodivergent community launched this ERG in 2020 to support neurodivergent Automatticians, serve as a resource for Automattic at large, and promote the principles of neurodiversity.
I’m happy to say we have a Neurodiversity ERG at Automattic.
Some of our goals:
- Advocate for neurodiversity-related improvements to hiring and team practices across the company
- Work with TalentOps to review and improve onboarding for new hires and new team leads by adding neurodiversity resources
- Be a resource for team leads, meetup planners, etc. to ask questions, so that it’s not entirely on team members to educate
- Support our neurodivergent community internally
- Provide resources for neurodiverseomatticians to learn more about their own neurodivergence
- Promote ERG members’ accomplishments
- Support our neurodivergent community externally
- Put together resources for awareness days/months
- Bring in neurodivergent speakers for internal talks
- Attend, sponsor, and support neurodivergent-in-tech events
- Examine internalized standards regarding competence, communication, and other traits valued at Automattic which are expressed differently by neurodivergent people
- Stand in solidarity with groups who often overlap with us: physically disabled and mentally ill people in particular
Some things an ERG can help with:
At 90 percent of the companies I examined, ERG members helped new employees to get comfortable during the onboarding process. Studies show that the first 60 to 90 days of employment are a critical time for any new hire, and they can be particularly challenging for members of traditionally underrepresented groups. That short window of time can mean the difference between whether an employee stays for the long run or leaves the organization before the year is out. ERGs can be leveraged to acclimate employees and engender a sense of loyalty and belonging to their new company.
These groups can also be great partners for identifying gaps in an organization’s talent development process.
Many companies also successfully use their ERGs to improve the organization’s leadership development process, to drive results, to forge relationships, and to ensure alignment between their business and diversity strategies.
Employee Resource Groups have evolved from employee support networks created to achieve diversity and inclusion to a strategic resources that enhances business outcomes in the following areas:
- Involve employees in recruitment and talent management efforts
- Offer leadership development and mentoring opportunities
- Capitalize on the knowledge of diverse employees to create consumer sensitive branding and product development
- Create an engaged and inclusive work environment
- Promote your organization as an employer of choice and community partner
Cultural competence is a business imperative that can no longer be ignored and employee resource groups must serve as the engine to make us all smarter about the future that awaits.
A big downside of ERGs that we hope to avoid:
We joined the ERG because we needed help, but we became the help.