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Celebrating unity and achievement: The heartbeat of Turnitin's ERGs

Explore the impact of Turnitin's ERGs in 2023, highlighting our employee groups’ growth, outreach, and the strides made in accessibility and connectivity.

Audrey Campbell
Audrey Campbell
M.A. in Teaching; Senior Marketing Writer

The essence of connectedness has become more vital than ever in our ever-shifting modern workplace. At Turnitin, this spirit of unity and shared purpose is embodied in the vibrant tapestry of our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). February marks the anniversary of the start of ERGs at Turnitin and we want to take this opportunity to celebrate how far they have come. In 2023, these groups not only fostered a sense of camaraderie and support but have also paved the way for remarkable achievements.

Let's dive into the world of Turnitin's ERGs and celebrate their accomplishments from this past year.

What are ERGs?

An Employee Resource Group (aka Affinity Groups, Employee Networks, Business Resource Groups) are voluntary, employee-led groups that foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with organizational mission, values, goals, business practices, and objectives. Their aim is to make a difference, and bring others along on that journey.

An ERG is usually formed around a shared identity, to create a space where both members and allies can come together and develop the feeling of belonging for the ERG's members. ERGs were established at Turnitin in February 2021, so this month marks their three year anniversary.

Women at Turnitin Thriving (W.A.T.T.)

Turnitin’s W.A.T.T. ERG is “a supportive community of women-identifying Turnitin team members and their allies, who advocate for and advise the company on issues affecting the community, such as talent acquisition and development. W.A.T.T. provides a safe space for members and allies to share their experiences and learn from each other, through both personal and professional development opportunities, coaching, and mentorship; uplifting women and helping to build a Turnitin where all team members can thrive” (2023).

WATT has been a beacon of empowerment and growth, boasting a 22% increase in membership within the last year, reaching 201 dedicated members across our global team. This ERG has been instrumental in creating committee-driven content that resonates with the challenges and aspirations of women in the workplace. From insightful coffee breaks discussing work-life balance and the journey of being a lifelong learner to engaging monthly member spotlights and the innovative “Say W.A.T.T.” internal podcast, this ERG has truly set a benchmark for engagement and inspiration.

PRIDE at Turnitin

Our LGBTQIA+ ERG—PRIDE at Turnitin—is “here to provide a safe space for LGBTQ+ employees to thrive at Turnitin. Where employees can work to identify and clarify practices that create an equitable, inclusive, and supportive environment in order to develop members’ path towards personal and professional growth via innovation and collaboration” (2023).

PRIDE at Turnitin has illuminated the path of inclusivity and acceptance, marking significant milestones like the Trans Day of Visibility and a captivating speaker session with Nik Harris from the Human Rights Campaign for Pride Month. The ERG's efforts to increase global participation, especially from different regions, have enriched the fabric of our community. Their collaboration with Turnitin Global Marketing to spotlight Pride Month has amplified the voices and stories of the LGBTQ+ community, fostering a culture of understanding and respect.

Neurodiversity at Turnitin

The Neurodiversity ERG seeks to “recognize, nurture, and support neurodivergent individuals to leverage their strengths to be successful and thrive at Turnitin.” This group is “creating a culture of awareness, understanding, acceptance, and support for neurodivergent individuals at Turnitin and beyond, through education, increasing awareness, and demonstrating the inherent value of neurodivergent individuals. They are also working to “identify and address any practices at Turnitin that may be unknowingly biased against neurodivergent individuals” (2023).

2023 was a landmark year for the neurodiversity movement within Turnitin, marked by the launch of enlightening quizzes shared internally that saw participation from 166 colleagues from around the globe. The establishment of an ERG Slack channel, now a community of 113 members, has created a robust platform for discussion, awareness, and advocacy for neurodiversity in the workplace.

Integrity without Stigma (IwS)

The Integrity without Stigma (IwS) ERG at Turnitin strives to “normalize authentic support for any employee experiencing mental health challenges and/or conditions—directly or indirectly. We want to provide a safe space for all employees to share how Turnitin can be a supportive place for mental health and to make sure our internal resources are inclusive and accessible” (2023).

Integrity without Stigma has been a pillar of support and awareness, focusing on the critical aspects of mental health. From establishing subcommittees to engaging the community with resources during Stress Awareness and Mental Health Awareness Months, this ERG has been at the forefront of fostering a supportive environment. Their initiative to host an external speaker on neurodiversity and mental health, coupled with a strong membership of 193 members and allies, underscores the collective commitment to breaking down barriers and promoting wellbeing.

BlackSource

Turnitin’s BlackSource ERG’s mission is to “create and sustain an equitable work environment that nurtures growth and professional development of TII’s Black employees, providing opportunities for:

  • Authenticity
  • Ownership in the workplace
  • Networking
  • Mentoring
  • Leadership
  • Recruitment and retention of passionate black talent” (2023).

BlackSource has been a vibrant community within Turnitin, dedicated to spotlighting internal leadership and embracing inclusivity. Their efforts to revamp meeting formats and times have significantly boosted non-US attendance, fostering a more inclusive and connected community around the globe. BlackSource also sponsored our second Annual Scholarship award in 2023, awarding two deserving students in the US. This month’s efforts supporting Black History Month was a testament to the group's dedication to celebrating heritage and promoting understanding and reflection.

In sum: The value of connectedness

In the age of virtual work, the role of ERGs like those here at Turnitin has transcended traditional boundaries. These groups not only provide a sanctuary of support and understanding but also drive meaningful change within and beyond the organization. The achievements of Turnitin's ERGs in 2023 highlight the power of collective effort, the beauty of diverse perspectives, and the unyielding spirit of progress.

As we celebrate these accomplishments, let's also recognize the deeper value these groups bring to our work lives. They remind us that in the tapestry of our professional journey, the threads of camaraderie, connection, and mutual support are the most vibrant and resilient. In fostering these values, Turnitin's ERGs not only enrich our work experience but also shape a more inclusive, understanding, and connected world.