Promote Allyship in the Workplace
Promote Allyship in the Workplace

3 Ways to Promote Allyship in the Workplace

Published June 04, 2021

Categories: Employees, Facilities Management, Inclusion, Diversity

Multiracial Friends Taking Selfie at LGBT Parade

June is Pride Month and a great time to promote positive changes and inspire allyship at your business. Pride encourages people to be themselves and celebrates their differences – and that authentic feeling can be contagious.

And while Pride Month is known for supporting love and having fabulous parades, it’s always been a political event. Since its beginning, Pride has been a protest supporting underrepresented communities and fighting against unjust systems.

Even when it’s lighthearted and fun, Pride is about more than just rainbows and parties — it’s about radical change.

And those radical changes – no matter the underrepresented community – can make bigger impacts when allies join in and support the cause.

As you grow your Diversity and Inclusion programs, encouraging allies to join programs, educate themselves, listen and support marginalized groups can improve interactions and relationships throughout your workplace.

To normalize everyday allyship you can:

Create an accountable culture

An accountable culture happens when people own their mistakes, apologize, educate themselves and commit to being better humans.

No one is perfect, but everyone is capable of learning from past mistakes and making an effort to not make those mistakes again.

By emphasizing accountability within your company’s culture, you understand that people make mistakes – but as long as they own their mistakes and learn from them, their pursuit for improvement outweighs the initial error in judgment or oversight.

Recognize forward-thinking employees

Change can’t happen without people moving forward. You should recognize and reward employees who initiate conversations about bias and encourage positive change.

Allyship is about taking action – big or small – and encouraging equality for others.

One way to practice allyship involves stepping up and alerting others when one notices discrimination. Staff should be encouraged to turn their awareness into action and speak out against problematic situations. This can enable the interruption of what was perceived as permitted or acceptable behavior and provides an incentive to make a change and be better.

There should also be a corporate initiative to eradicate workplace discrimination when it’s reported. Policies should be in place to support and protect employees – and rules should be equally applied.

Encourage employee resource groups

In the past, training or HR-created classes were the sole way businesses dealt with raising awareness. However, these courses often turned employees into spectators versus action-takers. They understood the problem, but they didn’t know how to help make a change.

A way to help personalize an ally’s involvement is through employee resource groups. By allocating budget funds for diversity and inclusion-focused employee resource groups, an ally can join in on the conversation and educate themselves about under-represented experiences.

It also provides employees a safe space to communicate about their experiences and their concerns so that positive changes can start to happen. Communication helps to amplify the needs of underrepresented colleagues and open the eyes of team members that did not see the issue. It also has the added bonus of helping everyone know that they are valued member of the community and that all voices are heard.

Understand that allyship is a journey of life-long learning, and it relies on strong communication and increasing one’s awareness.

Normalizing allyship creates a sense of genuine belonging

Actions speak much louder than words – and while webinars and multi-cultural holiday observances are nice – true inclusion will require a long-term investment. You will need to consider the human experience. By placing an ally in a situation where they can receive an immersive experience, it will help them understand the challenges others go through on a regular basis. It will also increase the chances that someone will speak up or take action when they see an injustice happening.

At Flagship, we established the Inclusion and Diversity Employee Action Group (IDEA Group), an employee-driven group created to encourage changes and action items to implement across the organization. The IDEA group has led the charge in creating multiple employee resource groups and the IDEA blog that includes firsthand stories from our very diverse workforce.

 

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