Tips for Being a Good Workplace Ally

Posted: 10.01.2021
Diversity and inclusion are increasingly becoming top of mind across businesses and organizations.

An article in the Human Resources Director notes that allyship in the workplace has become an “essential,” with “customers, employees, and investors seeing equity and inclusion as not just a ‘nice to have,’ but a ‘must have,’ driving systemic improvements to workplace policies, practices, and culture.”

But what does being a workplace ally mean and how do you ensure that you are a good one? We discuss this in our article below.

What is an ally?
The HRD defines an ally as “collaborators who fight injustice and promote equity in the workplace through supportive personal relationships and public acts of sponsorship and advocacy. In essence, a workplace ally is an individual who is not a member of an under-represented group but who takes action to support one or many such groups.”
The article notes examples like:
  • Men advocating for the advancement of women
  • Able-bodied individuals thinking about the needs of those with disabilities
  • White colleagues standing up for the rights of people of colour
There are five types of ally.
  1. The cheerleader. Shining the spotlight on individuals in public spaces and forums, these are visible and vocal supporters.
  2. The amplifier. Highlighting the contributions of others and uses platforms to voice and communicate these needs.
  3. The researcher. Yearning to learn from non-dominant groups, wanting to listen about the challenges and setbacks.
  4. The intervener. Appropriately calls out those with offensive and problematic behaviour.
  5. The supporter. Trusted confidant for members of a non-dominant group to share fear, joys, and concerns.
Three tips for being a good ally.
  1. Listen and research. Understand when to let another person speak and learn from them. You can also do some research to get insight into key issues facing specific minority groups.
  2. Stand up for others, but don’t speak over. Don’t be afraid to be an intervener – speaking up and calling out offensive and problematic behaviour. However, it’s important to do it in a way that is supportive and impactful.
  3. If you make a mistake, apologize after. It can take some time to understand and unlearn problematic behaviour. If you make a mistake – admit to it, apologize, learn from it, and be committed to changing the behaviour moving forward.
References:
Human Resources Director

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