There is much encouragement out there for people to take on an ally role in organisations and, in Trans awareness week, it is helpful to think about what we mean by allyship and what practical actions we can all take to support and advocate for any marginalised individual or group.
By being intentional allies, we can start to challenge embedded unhelpful ways of working that have become and normalised in the workplace, and change systems and behaviours to be more genuinely inclusive.
Some ideas for ally action…
- Role model inclusive behaviours
- Share your pronouns
- Use inclusive language
- Do not make assumptions about someone’s experience or identity
- Call out excluding and discriminatory comments and behaviour
- Proactively support individuals
- Share any opportunities and ideas you come across because of your position or contacts – for example job opportunities and projects
- Encourage someone to apply for a job/promotion/project
- Support someone in a meeting who is not being heard
- Offer to be a mentor
- Proactively support groups
- Join an employee resource group and offer practical support and help
- Volunteer to speak at an event as an ally
- Promote the group’s needs and actions at a wider level
- Look for opportunities you can help create, wherever there might be disadvantages or no role models
- Develop understanding
- Champion training and development to help raise awareness
- Create a business case for training support where you see a particular need or area of concern – for example Trans inclusion
- Listen to others when they want to share their experiences
- Challenge misinformation being shared or spoken about trans people
- Keep the conversations going
- Look for ways to involve senior leaders in the conversation – is allyship recognised as an important part of an EDI strategy or plan?
- Within your team, open upopen a conversation about how to make the teamworking more inclusive – and how to maintain this
- Regularly review ways of working within the team and ensure inclusion is at the forefront
- Why it is so important to have allies?
- Allies are a powerful resource to support and share the burden of those receiving an unfair volume of biased comments and microaggressions.
- Allies are more likely to be listened to than those actually being targeted
- Others will follow your lead if you demonstrate the inclusive behaviours, challenge the inappropriate behaviours and proactively seek out opportunities to make a difference.
These are just a handful of ways we can all play our part, summed up in this great quote from A Tale of three allies by Sherilyn George-Clinton and Janet M Stovall:
‘Allyship is not a badge earned after one action. Allyship is a practice of using your advantage to increase equity. But practices have to start somewhere. Where can you start?’
For support in creating truly inclusive workplaces and eradicating behaviour that is unacceptable, excluding or discriminatory contact us for a confidential discussion.