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

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Examples of allyship

Some employers take this so seriously that they have entire programmes dedicated to the theme.

Microsoft’s Allyship Programme (Ray, 2020)

The goal is to give all Microsoft employees the language they need to discuss different viewpoints and difficult issues in a way that offers empathy and inclusion to all, merging advocacy with the concept of the ‘growth mindset’.

The programme consists of 10 segments, including online classes, video scenarios and facilitated sessions focused on building skills and practicing behaviours. It teaches that ‘there’s no limit to who can benefit from a focus on greater inclusion – everyone has an opportunity to be an ally, and everyone needs allyship in some form’. People are encouraged to learn, grow, make mistakes and get better.

Others use their own sector specialism, in this case – making compelling films, to promote allyship to all their employees.

Netflix allyship culture

Video 4: Netflix Culture Allyship
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Activity 2 Exploring allyship

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes for this activity.

Part 1: Now you have a clearer understanding of what allyship is, spend some time thinking about ways you could use your own privilege and power to change the experience of marginalised groups. Make notes in the box below.

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Depending on your own position within your organisation, you can demonstrate your allyship in different ways. For example:

  • perhaps you’ve identified a colleague from an underrepresented group who you think has a useful perspective to share but who never gets invited to the meetings you go to. Chatting to them to find out their ideas would allow you to represent their views, or better still, arrange for them to attend the next meeting to speak for themselves
  • maybe your department will be recruiting soon, but you’ve realised that some of the processes are open to unconscious bias. Asking to be involved in (or to lead) a diversity and inclusion led review of those processes would be a strong step towards change.

Part 2: Imagine you have witnessed the following microaggression and think about how you might respond to it.

A new person starts in your office. Their name is Atinuke and when they are introduced, you hear a colleague say ‘That’s difficult to pronounce, do you mind if I call you Ati?’


A new person will often say ‘No, that’s fine!’ and keep their frustration hidden, not wanting to make an issue.

In a recent poll by Race Equality Matters (Race Equality Matters website, no date), 73% of respondents from more than 100 organisations said they had their names mispronounced. They said it made them feel ‘not valued or important’, ‘disrespected’ and ‘that they didn’t belong’. 88% of respondents thought a phonetic name spelling campaign would help tackle race inequality.

So Race Equality Matters started the ‘My name is’ campaign, introducing a digital tool to help people share their real names by translating them phonetically. They hope that organisations will standardise these phonetic spellings in email signatures and throughout their businesses.

Watch this short video in which Inein explains why this idea matters and can make a difference.

Video 5: Black History Month - My name is
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If you want to try it out for yourself – visit [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

You can find a useful list of possible ways to respond to microaggressions here:

Responding to Microaggressions and bias

Now that you have identified some areas that you’d like to improve on, you’ll look at setting relevant goals and breaking down the actions you need to take in order to achieve them.