Pride, present and future: Google Pride

Simon Schwartz
Simon Schwartz, Senior Customer Success Manager
30 Jun 2023
Colin Murphy, Regulation Response Lead, EMEA Partnerships, Google

As we mark Pride 2023, we’re reminded that — amongst the challenges we continue to face as a community — there are many things to celebrate. 

So this year, we’ve connected with our network of partners and friends to highlight DE&I initiatives making a difference, and reflect on how to build workplace policies that make a lasting impact.

This is the fourth interview in our Pride: present and future series. You can read the previous interview, featuring Stephanie Smith from TrueLayer, here.

As lead of the TrueLayer Pride Employee Resource Group (ERG), I always find it inspiring to learn about the initiatives and work of Pride ERGs at companies of all shapes and sizes. Google’s approach of localising ERGs to individual hubs and teams is a great way to not only develop stronger bonds between local LGBTQ+ employees, but also drives a more personalised approach to supporting these employees.

To paraphrase Colin’s point on “checking the temperature of the community,” ERGs must balance following their “heads” and their “hearts” to be effective in building supportive communities within their companies and provide the resources and tools that will benefit the greatest portion of the community.

As an active supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, how have you applied this to your role at Google?

I lead the Pride Employee Resource Group (ERG) for Google’s Global Partnerships division, EMEA.

Localised Pride ERGs tend to get more attention, as they do great work in bringing together the community in the office, such as organising Pride month activities and gatherings in a collective space.

I've long thought there is value in focusing on broader business Pride ERGs — or a way to facilitate connections amongst queer individuals — within a similar job function or career area. This can really help transform the relationships we have with our work and careers. It opens doors for new collaborations and learnings, and can hopefully help individuals see themselves in their organisation more, and not feel that to connect with their community, they need to go to a different team or line of work within the company.

What policies does Google have in place to ensure an inclusive and welcoming environment?

I've long been impressed by Google's commitment to diversity within the workplace and the goals it sets to create an inclusive and welcoming environment. Beyond policies, objectives and key results, what I’ve seen that helps ensure an inclusive and welcoming environment is an authentic interest and commitment from leadership.

Part of the reason I joined my current team is my director's vocalised support for an inclusive workplace, and her actions in maintaining and advancing such an environment.

How can businesses measure the effectiveness of their initiatives?

My background in Strategy and Operations has taught me the importance of tracking numbers, surveying members and responses, and analysing against benchmarks. I do think there is value in this, but I also think it's just as important to regularly 'check the temperature' of the community and see how people are doing. How do they feel within the company or their organisation? Where are they encountering challenges? Where are they having success? And where can we as an ERG be the most beneficial?

This requires leadership taking the time to chat with members of different communities. I see this as more than just a 'listening' session but a period of time dedicated to truly engaging and understanding the perspectives of different members of an organisation.

What’s next for your Google Pride ERG?

We have had some great successes with bringing in external speakers, and these efforts have allowed us to collaborate with other internal ERGs — both LGBTQ+ affiliated and more broadly. 

Beyond these events, we're trying to make sure we spend time connecting on a more personal level where possible. To do this, we are facilitating community check-ins in our offices — for LGBTQ+ identifying individuals in the same office or city, within the same business organisation. 

It's been a great initiative because we’ve seen people build new connections and find more comfort within their team. We hope to continue these moving forward.

Any events coming up during Pride month (or beyond) that you’d like us to mention?

Outside of work, I find myself trying to find more community volunteering opportunities through local community websites. These have been a great way for me to find connections in my LGBTQ+ community, and just feel a part of the community in general. 

For anyone questioning a way to find a spot within the community outside of a work ERG or their immediate friend group, I think volunteering is a great place to start.

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