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Employee Resource Group spotlight: Black @ Multiverse

By Team Multiverse

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We are working to create a diverse group of future leaders both inside and outside the business. As part of our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), we empower employees to take on paid roles that contribute to our company culture by leading Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).

ERGs are groups created for employees that share common life experiences or identities. Typically, these groups are comprised of people within communities that have been historically and systemically marginalised.

ERGs provide support and safe space for underrepresented and/or marginalised communities. They help employees in their professional development, increase engagement and retention, and drive towards organisation-wide goals. Black @ Multiverse is a community of colleagues who identify as being of Black heritage, in addition to allies from across the business who want to champion racial equity. Currently, 10% of our workforce identifies as Black.

We sat down with Naaman Brown and Sean Chinn, the inaugural co-chairs of Black @ Multiverse ERG, to learn more about their work.

What inspired you to run for Co-Chair of the Black @ Multiverse Employee Resource Group (ERG)?

Naaman: I have been involved in lots of DEI initiatives at Multiverse over the last two and a half years, so becoming the first Chair of the Black @ Multiverse ERG was a natural extension of that work.

On a personal level, I have experienced what it is like to work in an organisation where you could be the only person of your background in your team. That can be quite isolating, so getting a chance to bring together people with this shared experience really spoke to me.

What inspired you to run for Co-Chair of the Black @ Multiverse ERG?

Chinn: I value inclusion, and even more so, belonging, so it is a real honour for me to represent Black people working at Multiverse here in the United States. We can share our unique perspectives, create a safe space for shared experience, and, importantly, create a support network.

All of the work we do here in the US and with the ERG globally contributes to a more inclusive workplace. Black @ Multiverse is a global collaborative effort, weaving together collective experiences, whilst creating a space for local perspectives.

What is the main goal of your ERG?

Naaman: Our vision for the Black @ Multiverse is to foster networking, professional development, mentoring and leadership opportunities. With a focus on recruitment, retention, learning and the overall advancement of Black people at Multiverse.

This goal links back to my previous point - being isolated in a team can make work hard, and research shows Black people are often overlooked for promotions, and not retained at the same rates as White colleagues. This leads to a disadvantage and a lack of representation at all levels of leadership in the organisation.

Multiverse is committed to creating a fair and equitable employee experience which is exemplified through our inclusive recruitment, performance and retention strategies. Additionally, we are working hard to ensure that we improve the representation of underrepresented groups at all levels within our business.

Why do you think the ERG is important?

Naaman: There are a lot of unwritten rules in business that people from more privileged backgrounds pick up via osmosis. For example, learning about business norms from friends and family. Black people, especially younger Black people, sometimes don’t have that osmosis opportunity.

It is important for us to lean on each other, learn from each other’s experiences and get advice from those ahead of us. This helps us to level the playing field & truly allows us to bring our best to Multiverse.

Chinn: The Black @ Multiverse ERG is a pivotal catalyst for cultivating an inclusive workplace. It provides a platform for Black employees to amplify their voices, build a supportive network, and drive meaningful change. It is important to have a local focus for our ERG as the social and political situation here in the US makes the Black experience different compared to the UK.

It is important to create safe spaces as well as communicate with wider Multiverse allies, as this is how we drive meaningful change. By fostering employee engagement, this is how we meet our ERG goals, as well as our business goals.

What is your favourite event you’ve put on so far?

Naaman: My personal favourite was the UK’s Sip and Paint event. We had an amazing Black artist come in; they create murals that celebrate what makes Black people unique. We had 20 ERG members painting in their style, we ate some amazing Caribbean food, and we provided a truly safe space to connect in an informal way. Some people find it hard to let their guard down, and that event truly allowed our ERG members to do so.

Additionally, in the US, some of our ERG members attended BYP Network’s(opens new window) inaugural Leadership Summit in New York. This was a great opportunity for them to network, build connections and focus on their own professional development.

What are the big plans for the ERG this year?

Naaman: We are working on four pillars of content: Connection, Learning, Support and Allyship. For Juneteenth this year, we hosted a virtual event to discuss the 1619 Podcast. Seeing what the impact was on the US and the world, and how we can take that context forward into our working world. It will be a real opportunity to connect with allies here in the UK and in the US.

Chinn: What made me most proud about our 1619 Event were the allies that were present. This is our core focus for the rest of this year; promoting allyship across Multiverse.

Our ERG initiatives aim to further cultivate a culture of inclusion & belonging at Multiverse. We’re committed to learning from and about various communities, cultures and identities within our workforce and fostering dialogue across borders. After all, this is what makes us who we are and drives forward our mission of creating a diverse group of future leaders both within and outside of Multiverse.

Team Multiverse

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