ERGs encourage you to come as you are: Blasticians introduction

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Employee resource groups, or as we like to call them, Elastician resource groups, have been a part of Elastic’s culture since 2016. They started as organic Slack channels that Elasticians could join to connect with others from similar backgrounds or experiences.

In 2021, we formalized these ERGs to ensure that the members would have structure, budget, and ultimately, a voice based on any dimension of diversity, allyship, and advocacy. Formalizing these ERGs was an important step in broadening the impact of our collective diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.

ERGs are aligned to shared identities, interests, affinities, or allyships and have visions and goals they are working towards. They allow Elasticians to build a sense of community and belonging outside of their immediate team and allow for knowledge sharing, learning and development, and networking.

Diversity has always been a part of our culture. We’re a distributed organization, with employees in more than 40 countries around the world. What unites us is our Source Code, a shared set of ideas that we’re always working towards.

One tenet of our Source Code is “As YOU, Are” which means that we celebrate our differences and encourage everyone to come as you are.

“The Source Code is the basis for our entire DEI philosophy,” says Karen Penn, Elastic’s Head of DEI. “It’s critically important when you have employees from 44 countries. On a daily basis, things can be misinterpreted, but it’s important to not assume malice. We have this set of ideals and values to show that.”

She also explains her tool for managing awkward occurrences when they arise, especially around culture differences.

“We have to respect the pause—let people pause and explain,” she says. At Elastic, we don’t shy away from conflict, but instead enable Elasticians to address things in a meaningful way. That’s how you learn and grow as people, and as an organization.

Our Core ERGS

Currently, we have seven formal ERGs: The Accessibles, Blasticians, ElastAsians, Elasticians Unidos, Rainbow Stack, Mil-asticians, and Women of Elastic. We’ll be spotlighting them over the next year as they relate to culture or commemorative events and holidays.

Who are the Blasticians?

In honor of Black History Month in the U.S and Canada, we are spotlighting Blasticians. Blasticians was the first of our ERGs to formalize and is for people of color and their allies. Shantel Drew, Associate, Talent Brand, is the ERG lead for the group. As a Black woman in tech, she wanted a support system and to bring more Black people into the industry. But, she’s gotten so much more.

Even before Blasticians was a formal ERG, Shantel wanted to bring people together and educate others. In the summer of 2020, after George Floyd’s murder, she organized a lunch and learn program and asked other people of color to share their stories. Elasticians attended from around the world. “I felt like people really came together,” Shantel says.

Now, as an official ERG, they’re able to have an even greater impact. “It’s rewarding to have other employees reach out after events to give kudos, but it is even better knowing that the stories told, touched hearts”, Shantel says. They’re also a great resource employees can leverage as peer-to-peer to help them navigate certain issues.”

Blasticians is split into three committees: Recruiting, mentorship, and volunteering.

The recruiting committee works to bring more Black people into tech, specifically at Elastic. To do that, the group met with leaders on engineering teams that had a below average number of Black employees and helped to source talent on LinkedIn, Shantel explains. This year, they’re working to create a Black hiring strategy team, in partnership with engineering.

Since Blasticians formalized, they’ve been successful in partnering with Engineering and Recruiting to increase the representation of Black Elasticians.

“I’ve seen our efforts actually work and have more Black people get hired,” Shantel says.

The mentorship committee is getting up and running, but will have a formal mentorship program for Black Elasticians. With the inaugural cohort, they hope to improve retention and promotion rates among participants.

The volunteer committee is all about exposure. Members of this committee talk to college students about working in tech and are hoping to speak to other professional organizations like Blacks in Cybersecurity to show the community that tech is a viable career option for Black people.

“We want to do things beyond happy hours, we want to do something for the community,” Shantel says.

As a group, they meet virtually, so Elasticians around the globe can join and have access to people who look like them, or have shared experiences.

As YOU are starts here. Join the team at Elastic.

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