When the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders caused more than half of employees to move suddenly to remote work environments, our 10 Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) stepped up to address these new workplace challenges and found new ways to keep employees connected and supported in 2020. Here’s how:
From the onset of the pandemic, our Asian Diversity Network (ADN) took a leading role in dispelling myths that blame Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) communities for the global pandemic and providing support in the wake of violence against these groups worldwide. A listening session between the Global African Affinity Network (GAAN) and senior leaders in June 2020 became the genesis for Dow ACTs, our framework to address systemic racism and inequity.
Many women who were working from home also found themselves juggling schoolwork or day care responsibilities for their children. Our Women’s Inclusion Network (WIN) held Coffee Breaks @ Home sessions that helped women share their challenges and experiences. Twenty-five sessions covered a range of topics and attracted a total or 2,000 people across 25 events. The Disability Employee Network (DEN) also hosted global interactive sessions that expanded people’s understanding of disability and raised awareness of how the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted people living with disabilities.
To combat the separation brought by the pandemic, ERGs identified and implemented new ways to connect Team Dow. RISE, our ERG for employees with less than eight years at the company, formed a new chapter, Virtual Office and Small Sites (VOSS), to engage employees in North America. The Hispanic Latin Network (HLN) in the Benelux also started the #StayAtHome magazine, to share the Latinx culture through articles and cultural signposts such as movies and recipes, and to build connection during widespread stay-at-home orders. And while the pandemic caused many events to be canceled, our ERGs continued to advance inclusion in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia launched two new ERG chapters – PR!ME and ADN – while the Middle East North Africa Intercultural Network (MENA) organized its first-ever global webcast for Team Dow.
Our ERGs also helped advance more inclusive workplace opportunities. GLAD, our LGBTQ+ employee resource group, worked alongside Dow in Asia Pacific to update people policies on domestic partnerships. Now people who do not have a marriage certificate, including LGBTQ+ couples, may access family-related employee benefits in line with local regulations. In addition, our Veterans Network (VetNet) also advocated for and provided input to Dow’s new Military Degree Equivalency program in North America. The unique program will create a more inclusive work environment by providing veterans with relevant military experience of E6 ranking or greater (OR6 for Canada) as equivalent to a bachelor’s degree for U.S. and Canada job postings.
By creating virtual spaces to connect Team Dow, our Employee Resource Groups were a driving force in delivering professional and personal development offerings, raising awareness, and providing resources to help employees thrive. Participation in our ERGs increased to 48.9% in 2020, with more than 2,000 new participants.
Learn more from our Dow 2020 Environmental, Social and Governance Report.