Interfaith Event Ideas for Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)Article / Produced by TOW Project
Becky Pomerleau is the co-leader of PayPal's Interfaith Employee Resource Group, BELIEVE. She shares the programs that have brought PayPal’s employees together.
“Our ERG itself is interfaith, but then we have faith chapters. Those faith chapters will run some of their own programming and they get budget allocated from the interfaith ERG. At the ERG level, we try to do as much in a more inclusive space as possible. So what do I mean by that? We're coming up on December, and you have multiple faith backgrounds with some form of holiday in December. So we're going to have what we're calling our interfaith fair. Being PayPay, we're going to have a holiday market where small businesses come and you can go shopping. And each will share its programming: the Christian table will be more Christmas focused, the Jewish table, Hanukkah focused, etcetera.”
When it comes to the springtime, you have Easter, Passover, and Ramadan, all going on around the same time. We did a combined Passover and Easter event this past year, where we talked about the similarities and the differences between the two holidays. With Ramadan, we do a fast-a-thon where we encourage people of all faiths to come together and fast for a day, to understand what it's like to live at least one day in the shoes of someone who's fasting. And then we break our fast together.
In terms of other types of programming, we do a mentorship program where you can choose to be matched with someone of your own faith background. Or you can choose to be matched with someone not of your own faith background. Because maybe you want to learn from someone of a different faith background.
PRAYER REQUEST LINE
We have a prayer request on our intranet where people can put in either anonymously or non-anonymously a prayer request. People have said how meaningful it is to them to know that their colleagues are praying for them, regardless of what their faith background is. For me personally, it makes me feel that I'm living out my God given purpose with the life that God has given me.
“YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE PART OF A FORTUNE 1000 TO START THESE ACTIVITIES.”
Markee Johnson founded an ERG leader at EMC, which merged with Dell Technologies. She share her story of launching activities that everyone at her company could enjoy.
With our faith group at EMC, we found the most traction in a Bible study. Andy Stanley has a curriculum called Life Lessons Over Lunch, where they take his Sunday sermons and condense them down to 20-minute talks. The way that they stitch it together is actually attractive even for non-Christians, because these biblical principles are life lessons. It’s an awesome opportunity to bring in people of other faiths and dialogue around topics of life. We also saw a lot of traction around a prayer call. What I love about these examples is that you don't have to be a part of a Fortune 100 or Fortune 1000 to start these activities.
From a multi-faith perspective, events that positively impact the community really unify people. It is a great way to debunk misconceptions that people have around Christianity. Some of the most powerful social movements were started because Christians had an awakening to the truth that all men and women were created in the image of God. At Dell Technologies, our anti-human trafficking initiative brought people together across different faiths. We solved a huge challenge for diversity and inclusion, because these 13 different employee resource groups didn't really partner on anything, but they could all come together on this.