For the Black Employees@RingCentral Employee Resource Group, having a voice means making a difference.
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are employee-led affinity groups with a mission to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace and bring employees together. For Black History Month, we sat down with a few key members of BE@R – the Black Employees@RingCentral ERG – to take a look at the ways BE@R helps create a sense of community, improve employee retention and ultimately make RingCentral a more welcoming, innovative and competitive workplace.
As one of the first ten members of BE@R, Senior Sales Manager/SMB Tim Ansah has seen the group provide value to its members since day one.
“It’s a sounding board for people—a safe place for people to make sure that their voices are heard. By hearing what members have to say, we’re able to reach a collective understanding of what the biggest issues are, and what we can do to take action. And that’s something that (RingCentral President & COO) Anand (Esarwan) has really responded to – Juneteenth is now a company holiday as well as Martin Luther King Day; these are things that came from the BE@R group. We voiced our collective opinions, the company heard us and took action. We’re a communication company and it’s nice to see that in action.”
For Billing Manager Tiffany Reid, BE@R is a great way to give everyone a voice.
“People feel safe in the group. Yes, they’re able to share stories, but reading them is just as important, because some people are shy, but they’re able to hear others’ experiences, and I think that kind of warms them up and helps them get to a place where they can be as open as others are. I love that people on my team or across the company know they have a safe place to go, regardless of their race. They have a place that they can go communicate, be heard, and drive change.”
According to Solutions Engineer Kitson Locke, BE@R’s impact is being felt as far away as the United Kingdom.
“We now have voices and people we can speak to get the engagement that we need – for example, Black History Month in the UK. BE@R helped us get access to the senior leadership team to get that event organized and deliver it in the UK. We got guest speakers, we got content pushed out every week on important figures within the Black community in UK history. And that all stems from us, engaging with the team in the US, and them getting involved with the leadership team to help us get that organized.”
What’s next for BE@R?
A continued push to be heard – in ways that make RingCentral more attractive to a wider pool of talented candidates.
“I think if you were to see more Black people in upper management, people would see RingCentral isn’t just talking, we’re actually following through,” says Reid. “Being able to see more Black people in upper management tells candidates—and existing employees, “People who look and sound like you can get ahead here. It’s not just talk.” I think that’s something BE@R can have an influence on.”
BE@R members see diversity and inclusion as a true game-changer for RingCentral, and management seems to agree.
“It’s a family company. It’s very inclusive,” says Locke. “(BE@R) helps to bring Black employees together and gives you that family feeling, that family support, but also it brings the wider company together. When there are issues in society people may want to talk to someone outside of their usual circle. BE@R and other ERGs give everyone that opportunity—to engage with different people all across RingCentral.”
The growing strength of the group’s voice is having inspiring results, says Ansah.
“When I first started, Kevin Williams was a manager that was promoted to director, then VP, and now he is Country Manager for the Philippines. Seeing someone who looks like me rise through the ranks like that – that’s huge. I started in a small home office segment, moved up to our SMB segment, got Team Lead, then Manager, and I’m now Senior Manager on my way to Director hopefully soon.. So seeing people of color progress through their individual roles gives everyone inspiration and opportunity – to not feel like they’re ever stuck, and there’s always an opportunity to move up and advance your career here. If you can see yourself advancing down the road, why would you go to another company when you could do that right here?”
As companies and their customer bases grow more global and diverse, diversity and inclusion becomes an ever greater business priority. ERGs like BE@R are earning their stripes as true business assets adding value in recruitment and retention, marketing, brand enhancement, training, and employee development. As BE@R’s strength grows, RingCentral’s will, too. We love to see it. #strongertogether
Originally published Feb 24, 2021, updated Dec 30, 2022