In today's ever-changing world, it's more important than ever to create workplaces that are diverse, fair, and inclusive. Allyship is a key ingredient in achieving this. It's not just a trendy term; it's about actively supporting each other to make sure every person feels respected and empowered at work.
Let’s dig into what an ally means at work, why it's important, and how you can be a great one, with real-life examples and practical tips.
What's Allyship in the Workplace?
Being an ally is when you actively commit to supporting colleagues from groups that have been marginalized or underrepresented. For example, when you point out a misogynist comment or when you speak up in an awkward situation with your foreign colleague. Allyship is recognizing that there are systemic inequalities and actively trying to break them down. We know that we can’t change the world alone but that means you are there for your coworkers, not only when they ask for it, but even when they don't realize they need it. It's using your privilege, voice, and influence to make your workplace fairer for everyone, no matter their race, religion, sex, orientation, etc.
Why does being an Ally Matter?
As you can imagine there are lots of benefits that come with allyship, but the main reason is that it creates a workplace where everyone feels good to work, plus:
- Boosts Innovation: Diverse teams come up with more creative ideas. When you support colleagues from different backgrounds, you open up the door to fresh perspectives, leading to better ideas and decision-making.
- Creates Inclusivity: Allyship makes your workplace feel welcoming to everyone, no matter where they come from or who they are. When people know they have allies, they're more likely to be their true selves at work.
- Keeps Talent: Inclusive workplaces hold on to their best employees. When people feel supported and included, they're less likely to leave, saving the company money and improving its overall performance.
- Builds a Good Reputation: Companies known for their commitment to diversity and inclusion are seen as responsible and attractive to customers and investors. Allyship plays a big role in shaping that reputation.
How to Be an Ally at Work
There are multiple ways to become a better ally, here are 5 tips that will make you a better one.
1. Learn More: Start by educating yourself about what it's like for people from underrepresented groups. Read books, attend workshops, and have conversations to understand their experiences better.
Example: Go to a diversity and inclusion workshop to learn about unconscious biases and how they affect decision-making.
2. Be a Good Listener: Be someone your coworkers can talk to. Create a safe space for them to share their experiences, concerns, and ideas. Sometimes, all someone needs is a sympathetic ear.
Example: If a colleague tells you about a microaggression they faced, listen and show you understand how they feel.
3. Speak Up: Use your privilege to speak out when you see bias, discrimination, or exclusion happening. Don't stay silent; be an active ally.
Example: In a meeting, if you notice someone's ideas being ignored, speak up and make sure their voice is heard.
4. Amplify Others: Help your underrepresented colleagues shine by giving them credit for their contributions. Help them get noticed and appreciated.
Example: When a colleague from a marginalized background presents a project, praise their hard work and make sure they get credit for its success.
5. Take Action: Support initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion in your organization. Join or lead diversity committees, mentor your colleagues, or volunteer for inclusion-related events.
Example: Volunteer to lead an effort to make the hiring process more diverse in your company.
Allyship isn't a one-and-done thing; it's a lifelong commitment to creating a fairer workplace for everyone. By actively practicing allyship, we can tap into the power of diversity and make positive changes in our organizations.
Let's work together to build a workplace where everyone can thrive and bring their best to the table.
Use a DEI Bot
Using technology can be a great way to boost your allyship efforts and keep diversity and inclusion front and center in your workplace culture.
To make your allyship journey even better, consider using Dara, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) bot. This smart tool can help you to improve communication in a more inclusive way and track the progress in making your workplace more diverse.