Black Googlers Network | Cultivating Inclusivity and Carving a Path

Championing - and ultimately constructing - an inclusive workplace, is an ongoing challenge for all businesses. How can you step forward from good intentions and actively effect change, in a world that is intrinsically skewed in the other direction?

Following the EMEA and SSA professional development summit ‘Turning Point’, Google committed to redouble their efforts in cultivating a more inclusive workplace. They wanted to instigate a tangible change and combat the underlying feeling amongst Black employees, that they could not succeed at Google. BGN (The Black Googlers Network) came to UpSkill Digital to devise a workshop that would ultimately provide the tools and framework for Black employees to feel empowered within the organisation.

First, it was important to pre-survey the employees to get a better idea of what they needed from the training. Then, armed with that understanding from the source, UpSkill Digital was able to create a bespoke career development programme that would make a real difference to attendees’ career prospects and confidence.

The sessions addressed how Black Googlers could bridge career gaps and harness their cultural capital; provided insights on building a career that allows for growth; and explored the idea of navigating a corporate structure using entrepreneurial thinking. The class focussed too, on personal branding. How could Black Googlers create a personal brand statement, story and strategy within Google? The aim being for them to find their voice, carve their own path to a rewarding career, and have the tenacity to stand up and be seen. UpSkill Digital offered a blended learning programme of interactive online content; along with actionable frameworks for career planning.

Due to Covid-19, the BGN were also conscious that Black employees may be experiencing reduced visibility. So, we made sure to build ‘Career Visibility - Visibility in The Virtual Workplace’ into the masterclass. This served to educate attendees on how they might activate and influence their network, remotely.

Understanding the importance of creating a safe space and feeling of community in order to learn, UpSkill Digital provided in-house exposure to an internal Black leader, who was able to provide advice and guidance based on their lived experience. We also offered an open panel ‘fireside chat’ for attendees to share knowledge and discuss issues of concern.

Overall, UpSkill Digital trained 184 Googlers across 4 virtual sessions. Crucially, 100% of attendees felt the classes were inclusive; and their background, identity and experiences were both respected, and valued.