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LGBTIQ+ Employee Resource Groups: Benefits, Challenges, and Opportunities

19th May 2022 @ 10:00 AM 1:00 PM CEST

While organisational attention to the topics of workplace equality and inclusion has increased, some social groups are still disadvantaged. To support Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer (LGBTIQ+) employees at work, many organisations have LGBTIQ+ employee resource groups (ERGs). These groups are uniquely placed to provide a safe space for LGBTIQ+ employees, facilitate alliances between these employees and their ally colleagues, and advocate for structural changes in the organisation. 

 The evidence base on LGBTIQ+ ERGs remains limited and partial, leaving a large knowledge gap on how networks function and their capacity to improve the experiences of LGBTIQ+ employees at work. In this symposium, Prof.dr. Anna Einarsdottir (York University) and Prof. dr. Jojanneke van der Toorn (Leiden University) shares insights from their recent research on the topic, discussing the promises and pitfalls of LGBTIQ+ ERGs and how they can be most effective. A panel including LGBTIQ+ ERG representatives will reflect on the findings, share insights from practice, and discuss how ERGs can contribute to LGBTIQ+ workplace inclusion.


19 May 2022

10.15 – 10.30   
Doors open

10.30 – 12.00    Symposium

12.00 – 13.00    Coffee and Tea


Telders Auditorium, Rapenburg 73, Leiden University


We would like the symposium to be accessible to everyone. We hope the absence of a participation fee and the possibility to view a live stream contribute to this. Please note that the symposium location is wheelchair accessible. 

This event is organized by Prof. dr. Jojanneke van der Toorn, Dr. Eva Jaspers, Chenhao Zhou, Kshitij Mor, and Paula Hoffmann, in collaboration with Academia@Workplace Pride. We can be contacted at [email protected]


Have LGBTIQ+ employee resource groups been derailed?

Prof. dr. Anna Einarsdottir

Drawing on a major Economic and Social Research Council-funded mixed-method study into LGBTIQ+ employee resource groupswith the National Health Service in the UK, this paper presents some of the key findings and explores issues around resource group membership, inclusion, how employee resource groups operate and pressure on these groups to evidence impact. The paper argues that the role of employee resource groups has shifted from supporting LGBT+ employees to championing a broader organisational agenda on equality, diversity, and inclusion. In turn, this raises some difficult questions about who the groups are for and what they do for members, allies, wider LGBT+ communities, the organisation, and ultimately, the purpose of employee resource groups. 

Top-down or bottom-up? Strategies to assess the needs of LGBTIQ+ employees

Prof. dr. Jojanneke van der Toorn

LGBTIQ+ people continue to face unique challenges, with their voices often being unheard or even silenced. While organisations put great effort into creating more inclusive workplaces, it is unclear whether and to what extent they succeed in catering to the diversity of people encompassed by the LGBTIQ+ acronym. Little attention, both in research and in practice, seems to be paid to those community members with intersecting marginalised identities (for example, queer employees of colour). This research explored what strategies are used in organisations to assess employees’ workplace experiences and needs and whether and to what extent these strategies are likely to reach and represent diverse LGBTQI+ employees.