Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course

Download this course

Share this free course

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

1.1 Allyship

Allyship is essential in creating inclusion in the workplace. Watch this short film, to hear a useful introduction.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Show transcript | Hide transcript
Video 2: 5 Tips For Being An Ally
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Becoming a good ally is not a quick change, and it requires a consistent approach. Atcheson (2021) describes allyship as:

  • a lifelong process of building relationships based on trust, consistency, and accountability with marginalised individuals and/or groups of people
  • not self-defined—work and efforts must be recognised by those you are seeking to ally with
  • an opportunity to grow and learn about ourselves, whilst building confidence in others.

On a personal level, there are many ways you can become a better ally. In their article, Melaku et al (2020) focus on gender and race related advice for white men in the US, but they ‘believe it can be used by members of any privileged group who want to create inclusive organisations’:

  • Educate yourself – take the time to read, listen, watch and deepen understanding. Recognise that members of an underrepresented group won’t all have the same experiences.
  • Own your privilege – acknowledge the advantages, opportunities and resources you have automatically been given, while others have been overtly or subtly denied them.
  • Accept feedback – establish trust with, and seek feedback from, people from marginalised groups. Be thoughtful and sincere, using responses such as ‘I recognise I have work to do’, or ‘how can I make this right?’
  • Become a confidant – let people know they can confide in you and make yourself available. Listen generously and try to empathise with and validate their experiences.
  • Bring diversity to the table – invite colleagues from marginalised groups to meetings. Ask them specific questions, encourage them to lead the meeting or to represent you at an event.
  • See something, say something – monitor your workplace for inappropriate comments and behaviour, and be clear and decisive in shutting them down. Frame any confrontation as a learning or growth opportunity for the person and the team.
  • Sponsor marginalised co-workers – get to know their strengths and weaknesses, help them to develop and put their names forward whenever new projects, stretch opportunities or promotions are discussed. Introduce them to key players in your own professional networks.
  • Insist on diverse candidates – strengthen your own recruitment processes (using some of the ideas you learned from Week 6).
  • Build a community of allies – look for like-minded people within your organisation and boost your impact by forming groups interested in fighting inequality.

You may find it useful to watch this short video from Lean In, which categorises allyship actions into three groups – individual, interpersonal and structural.

Video 3: Allyship in Practice
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).