- LinkedIn will begin paying employee resource group co-chairs an additional $10,000 a year starting in July, Axios reported.
- The company has 10 ERGs with 20 global co-chairs: Black Inclusion Group, EnableIn, Embrace, Families at LinkedIn, Hispanics of LinkedIn Alliance, LinkedIn Asian Alliance, Out@In, Veterans & Allies at LinkedIn, and Wisdom at LinkedIn. Each co-chair serves a two-year term, with the $10,000 being paid at the end of each year.
- Each ERG has an executive sponsor who will review the co-chair's performance quarterly, giving feedback to the co-chair's managers as part of performance reviews.
This kind of D&I shakeup is revolutionary on several fronts. For one, the list of highly visible U.S.-based corporate companies paying their ERG leaders is as follows: LinkedIn, Justworks and Twitter. Second, LinkedIn's announcement sets a precedent regarding questions of equity, belonging, and retention. Because compensation for ERG isn't just a lush bonus, explains Christie Lindor, founder of DEI consulting firm Tessi; it's vital acknowledgement of crucial emotional labor.
Many leaders work on their ERG affairs outside of regular hours and without compensation, Lindor said. "I know I spent many years [working] nights and weekends," Lindor told HR Dive. Prior to becoming an independent consultant, she worked in management and development at IBM, Deloitte Consulting and EY. Yes, ERGs can provide playful, social communal spaces. But often, leaders have to do some heavy lifting.
Nodding to George Floyd's murder and 2020's racial reckoning, Lindor recalled her time as an ERG leader during Trayvon Martin's death. Very few of her then-co-workers were discussing police brutality. Lindor and fellow ERG leaders had to step up to the plate.
"We had to put on programming. We had to check in on our members to see if they're OK. That sometimes meant early in the morning, like 7:00 a.m., to tackle people that are upset. And sometimes, it's 11:00 p.m. To navigate that, it takes a lot because you're already triggered as an individual seeing certain situations happen," Lindor said. And ERG leaders have dozens, if not hundreds, of employees looking to them for answers.
"You have this whole community that's relying on you to be a leader. You have to swallow a lot of stuff to be able to be there for that," Lindor told HR Dive. "And those 7:00 a.m. coffee meetings or 11:00 p.m. calls — those 'I want to quit' calls — a lot people don't see. But this is the life of an ERG leader. This is their day-to-day life."
Often, an unspoken disdain exists in regard to employees who handle ERG affairs on the clock. Lindor has witnessed the domino effect of these attitudes: Marginalized employees end up asking themselves, "Is this really a place for me?"
Payment for the work may not only be a matter of ethics but also a way to give marginalized employees fuel to succeed. As Lindor points, the success of an ERG being factored into a co-chairs performance review makes D&I work a part of a company narrative. "As opposed to 'a side thing,' that kind of change creates a sense of pride and a sense of increased loyalty to that organization," Lindor said.
"It really adds another level of passion, but also credibility and validity that the groups created are looking for," Lindor continued. "They want to belong. They want to be retained by these organizations. This is just one of the ways that help validate and celebrate those differences."