At Unity, Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are employee-led networks that foster an inclusive workplace by providing support around shared identities or life experiences that have historically been marginalized or underrepresented in the workforce. The purpose of ERGs is to champion an inclusive culture by modeling our company values of empathy, respect, and opportunity, and to build a sense of belonging. Membership in ERGs is open to all employees, regardless of whether they self-identify with the target demographic; allies are welcomed and encouraged to join in creating a culture of inclusion. Today we have a total of nine ERGs, nearly half of which were launched in 2022. Continue reading for a look back at all that our ERGs accomplished in the past year and to learn more about what each represents.
The Access ERG was launched earlier this year and is a group that resonates with many people at Unity. The group hosted multiple meetings with guest speakers, covering various topics such as augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) literacy, guide dogs, and American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation. Leaders have also raised awareness and donations for nonprofits outside of Unity that are doing important work for communities with disabilities and neurodiversity.
Employee feedback: “This is the most wonderful [update]. Thank you so, so much for researching, advocating, and sharing [recording transcripts].”
In 2023, the Access ERG aims to normalize accessibility so that all team members with disabilities or neurological divergences have equal opportunities and rewarding careers. Seemingly small things, like having transcripts automatically enabled for Zoom meetings or introductions with visual descriptions, can make a big difference for someone with an auditory or visual impairment, respectively. They also plan on aligning with our accessibility council, focused on Unity’s product accessibility, to ensure that employees with disabilities are core stakeholders.
The Asian ERG spent the past year recruiting new members through its monthly community meetings and also built an excellent event lineup. The group kicked off the year with a bang by putting together a video that featured Unity employees from around the world who each shared how Lunar New Year is celebrated in their respective cultures. Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month is observed in North America during the month of May, so the Asian ERG organized four virtual events to raise awareness, including a Stop AAPI Hate presentation by Dr. Russell Jeung. In October, members gathered locally in offices with the Hindu and Sikh community to paint Diya lamps, and to taste locally sourced traditional food and sweets in celebration of Diwali, the Festival of Lights.
In 2023, the Asian ERG leadership team aims to drive internal engagement and continue to grow community membership, as well as to continue collaborations with other ERGs such as the LGBTQ+ and Muslim groups by co-presenting discussions and events that tackle intersectional issues. The group also wishes to build partnerships with other companies and non-profit organizations, so as to create volunteer and networking opportunities for Unity’s Asian community. Finally, they are passionate about helping members develop and grow internally and are looking into ways to provide resources that can help guide the Asian diaspora in navigating their careers and to implement a mentorship program to promote a culture of learning.
B-United, Unity’s Black ERG, has grown extensively over the past year. The group celebrated several amazing events for Black History Month in February (U.S. and Canada) and October (United Kingdom), and continued to honor Black culture throughout the year. An event that stands out was a fireside chat featuring one of Unity’s Black board members, whose story was impactful to hear for all who attended. The company was also able to send several B-United members to AFROTECH, which offered a unique chance to see and network alongside Black professionals across many areas of the tech industry. The conference was also the first time many of our group members met in person, since the ERG was established during the pandemic in 2020.
In 2023, B-United plans to continue the momentum they’ve built and provide even more employees with opportunities to get involved. Creating psychological safety for our Black employees is essential for them to be able to thrive at Unity. This ERG can help be another space outside of someone’s immediate team for community building and career support.
The mission of the Caregivers ERG is to partner with Unity to advance understanding and inclusion for employees who find themselves frequently in a caregiving role, be it for children, parents, or for other meaningful relationships in their lives. Founded this year, the group hosted a virtual volunteer event in partnership with our Social Impact team to send care packages to children in hospitals this holiday season. Balancing the care of others with impactful, meaningful work can be taxing for employees, and this ERG is dedicated to bringing resources, policies, and appreciation to its community so that, as a company, Unity is better able to retain, support, and provide equal opportunities for caregiving employees.
Employee feedback: “I want to thank everyone for joining the kick off meetings this week. It’s really nice to meet new people at Unity and feel less alone.”
Unity currently offers a variety of benefits for caregivers including family planning support and a flexible return to work program in the US and parental leave. In 2023, the Caregivers ERG intends to provide resources to make the return to work easier for employees who take leave for caregiving and to make flexible schedules a top priority.
ComUnidad, Unity’s Latinx ERG, saw great improvements in its membership numbers, overall engagement, and group structure in 2022. The community grew to over 200 total members and attributes this growth to the time spent building a solid leadership structure and foundation to support the functions of the group. Growing its leadership team from four to nine this year allowed them to engage more with Unity’s Latinx community through events and community gatherings and to avoid leader burnout. Most notably, the group had a strong showing during Latinx Heritage Month (observed in the U.S. from September 15–October 15) when it hosted five events and increased its overall event engagement by more than 10%.
In 2023, ComUnidad plans to continue its efforts to grow membership by offering more incentives for new Latinx employees and allies to join the ERG. This includes plans to provide more professional development opportunities and in-person events.
What a busy year it has been for the LGBTQ+ ERG: The group organized more than a dozen events, many of which were in collaboration with other ERGs, such as a short film screening with the Asian ERG and Queer Icons trivia with the Latinx ERG. The team also hosted workshops on being an ally, a talk about the history of Drag Kings, a fireside chat with its executive sponsors, and launched a book club. In June, the group created a collective video to show what Pride really means to members of the community within Unity.
Employee feedback: “I want to say how pleased and grateful I was to see [a] company-wide post specifically call out the LGBTQ+ community. A lot of companies tend to [take a much more vague] ‘Pride for everyone!’ approach – the acknowledgement of Pride's history is much appreciated, so thank you ”
One of the LGBTQ+ ERG’s biggest goals for 2023 is to improve the sense of community for its members, as well as to offer opportunities for personal and professional growth. Group leaders are proud to have increased membership by over 12% in 2022, especially after a focus on gaining more global representation, but recognize there is still work to be done.
The Muslim ERG is the first of its kind at Unity and a unique one in the tech industry, too. Through spreading awareness about issues that impact the community and Islamic culture, the group aims to set up frameworks that ensure that Muslim employees can practice their beliefs with respect and comfort. Leadership has collaborated with other ERGs, such as the Asian and Women ERGs, on issues that affect the intersectional communities. They’ve also hosted celebrations for Ramadan and Eid, including three successful fundraisers (tied to the internal employee match program) and informational sessions about Ramadan and how to be “in it together” for all. The fundraisers centered around food drives for war-torn countries and rebuilding education infrastructure in disaster-stricken nations due to global warming. As part of its end-of-year festivities, the Muslim ERG hosted baklava cooking and arabic calligraphy workshops to bring a bit of the Arabic culture to the diverse workspaces of Unity, and to make members feel more connected during the holidays.
In 2023, there is great opportunity for this ERG to make an impact on Muslim employees and to create more allies and intersectional collaborations. The group’s leaders aim to work with internal teams to support onboarding of new employees who have been hired in or are relocating from Muslim-majority countries by introducing buddy systems, as well as to create inclusive workplaces globally for current employees. Together, the Muslim ERG looks forward to another good year for inclusion and diversity at Unity.
The Service Members ERG is designed for veterans and military families, and chose a name and logo that would appeal to Unity’s global employee base. Members of the ERG believe service members and their families have unique skill sets and experiences to offer. Formed over the summer of 2022, the group hosted its first open workshop, led by a U.S. Army combat veteran, on how to cultivate a resilient mindset in an ever-changing world in September. To close the year, they hosted a children’s toy drive through Toys for Tots, which is run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve.
In 2023, the Service Members ERG would like to grow its member base and bring more allies into the fold. With the new acquisition of ironSource, and the majority of its employees having served in the Israeli Defense Force, we believe there are many peers who would be interested in connecting with and learning from this community.
What a year it has been. The Women ERG started off 2022 by introducing its first executive sponsors, who aim to build a continuous partnership in order to realize desired objectives and key results for women at Unity. The highlight of the year was, of course, the group’s impressive lineup of events during Women’s History Month in March, which included an influential Unity Women Panel, a showstopper that inspired all who tuned in and was supported by women leaders within the company. Another focus area for the ERG this year was to provide support for professional development, which led to the launch of its Peer Mentor program. Finally, the Women ERG announced the rollout of its Ambassador program, which is designed to provide additional support for events for employees in both virtual and in-person settings, and even found time to volunteer.
As it looks to 2023, the Women ERG wants to support its members as best they can and iterate and improve processes. The leadership team is excited to show members all that they have prepared in an effort to bring more focused events and to increase engagement among women at Unity.
We look forward to continuing to foster inclusion and diversity at Unity through these and more employee initiatives and extend a huge thank you to all who participated in ERG programming – both internally and externally – throughout 2022. Cheers to all that we can continue to accomplish in 2023!