Skip to main content

LGBT+ Inclusion in Business: Spotlight on Employee Resource Groups

By Micaela Smith, Blue Sky Graduate Assistant, MBA Candidate

Employee resource groups (ERGs) are traditionally regarded as a gathering place for diverse employees. Yet, their potential for driving businesses forward through inclusion reform is often an untapped resource.

Two of the Treasure Valley’s top employers, HP, Inc. and Micron Technology, Inc., use ERGs as a way to move forward in their diversity and inclusion initiatives. Both HP and Micron are listed in Forbes’ top 500 Best Employers for Diversity 2019 (1).

HP’s commitment to ERGs spans decades and emphasizes the impact that diversity and inclusion make on innovation and business results which is why they have rebranded their ERGs as Business Impact Networks. Boise’s HP employees Don Curtis, Trina Finley Ponce, and Linda McGraw (2) shared how ERGs have impacted the company in being a workplace where all employees can bring their whole self to work. For the past 15 years, HP has received a perfect score on the Human Rights Commission’s corporate equality index, indicating that they have been designated as a best place to work for members of the LGBT+ community.

The benefits of businesses focusing on LGBT+ inclusion are vast, and a few benefits are listed below:

  • LGBT+ buying power is estimated at nearly 1 trillion dollars domestically (4) and 3.7 trillion dollars globally (3).
  •  71% of LGBT folks and 82% of allies are more likely to buy from companies that have LGBT-friendly reputations (3).
  • 72% of LGBT allies are more likely to accept a job offer for an LGBT-friendly company (3), increasing the case for LGBT-inclusion as a business strategy to source and keep top talent.

HP strives to embed diversity and inclusion into everything they do and that starts at the top with the board of directors and is woven through all levels within the company. “HP’s focus on fostering inclusion for LGBTQ employees started with inclusive policies and practices within the company supported by leaders, ERG members, and other employees,” said McGraw, HR business partner and a charter member of what is now known as HP Boise’s PRIDE Business Impact Network.

HP’s Gay and Lesbian Employee Network (GLEN) resource group, now known as the PRIDE Business Impact Network, was founded over 30 years ago and was one of the first LGBTQ ERGs in the country. By the early 1990s, HP had implemented domestic partner insurance benefits and added sexual orientation to their anti-discrimination clause.

“There have been times when employees have been concerned about acceptance in the community outside of HP,” said McGraw. “One of the things we wanted to do was provide a sense of belonging in HP and a platform to share these stories to increase awareness and understanding to foster inclusive behavior outside of HP as well.”

The HP Boise PRIDE Impact Network worked to create a common understanding across the businesses with the sharing of LGBT+ stories through an activity called Reader’s Theater. They emphasized fostering inclusive workplace interactions and calling on all members of HP to be responsible for an inclusive work environment.

With executive leadership and sponsorship, HP Boise’s PRIDE Impact Network has seen an upsurge in activity in the past 5 years. Today, members teach an annual class called Allies@HP  (how to be a supportive and effective ally of the LGBTQ community) for employees and emphasize campus-wide planning and involvement in Boise Pride Fest every year. Two years ago, HP launched a campaign called Reinvent Mindsets to raise awareness of unconscious bias facing underrepresented groups.  One video spot – titled Proud Portraits – is grounded in insights about what it can be like to be LGBTQ today in corporate America and what each of us can do to help tackle the problem and move toward inclusion.

McGraw, Curtis, and Finley Ponce offered the following guidance for businesses aiming to increase their own LGBT+ inclusion through business resource groups:

  1. Any diversity and inclusion initiative should be a business-wide priority and viewed as the responsibility of all vs viewed as an HR specific priority.
  2. Resource groups should provide a supportive environment for members of the LGBTQ employee community and a welcoming environment for all allies.
  3. Resource groups should provide a platform to provide education and awareness as well as strive to impact business results.
  4. Corporate support, executive sponsorship, and local participation including funding, strategic direction, and ties to business impact give life to business resource groups.

HP Boise’s efforts around LGBT+ inclusion drastically changed McGraw’s quality of life as a lesbian woman: “To have HP be supportive meant the world to me. It affirmed and acknowledged my identity, and I was able to focus on my work and provide value to HP,” she said.

Another business leader in the community, Micron, is newly emphasizing ERGs as a way to enhance diversity & inclusion initiatives. Micron formed its first ERG five years ago, the Women’s Leadership Network, which has catalyzed Micron’s D&I efforts (5).

“At Micron, we believe it is critical for team members to bring their authentic self to work and not feel like they have to conform to the majority,” said Karen Metz, Micron’s Vice President and head of Global Diversity and Inclusion. “ERGs provide a community for team members so that they do not feel alone in their demographic. Knowing there are people like you in the workplace helps build a sense of belonging.”

Since its introduction of ERGs five years ago, Micron has already expanded to seven ERGs (5), including a Micron Pride + Allies group (6). Like HP, Micron’s LGBT+ employee resource group brings Micron participation into Boise Pride Fest and offers seminars to Micron employees (6).

Micron wants ERGs to do even more for their D&I initiatives in the future. As part of these efforts, Micron is partnering with RBI to host an ERG roundtable discussion with a variety of local business practitioners in early April.

“Micron is always looking for new ideas and opportunities to improve the workplace for our team members. Learning from other companies and staying in step with best practices is a priority,” said Metz.


  1. Valet, Vicky (ed.) (2019). Best Employers for Diversity 2019. Retrieved from
  2. Personal interview conducted on February 21, 2019 with HP Boise employees Don Curtis, Finance Manager; Linda McGraw, HR Business Partner; and Trina Finley Ponce, Diversity and Inclusion Program Manager
  3. Van’t Noordende, Sander (2017). Why LGBT inclusion makes business sense. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from
  4. Schneider, John and Auten, David (2018). The $1 trillion marketing executives are ignoring. Retrieved from
  5. Email communication in March 2019 with Micron employee Anna Boyer, Diversity and Inclusion Sr. Manager
  6. Micron Diversity & Inclusion FY 18 Annual Report (2019). Micron Technology, Inc. Retrieved from