When companies decide to create a workplace culture that is more inclusive and diverse, they cannot do so overnight. A workplace ally is an individual who will step up and support a colleague who is marginalized to make sure that colleague is heard and seen. Often, allies are individuals who do not simply assume that preventing discrimination in the workplace is about their own behavior, they see it as their responsibility to elevate those around them by encouraging systemic changes in behavior. Allyship requires one to constantly evolve through self-awareness, as well as pay attention to behaviors that are discriminatory and utilize tactics to improve conduct. The following tactics can increase allyship in the workplace:
Give credit where credit is due. Often, marginalized individuals in the workplace are not given credit for their ideas or opportunities to share them. An ally can implement strategies in meetings whereby contributions are encouraged. Doing so creates a level playing field so that good ideas are given their due credit. Additionally, this allows those who are usually quiet an opportunity to present their views.
Be respectful. Being respectful to others’ identities, roles, and time is a great way to increase allyship. Usage of irrelevant and vague verbiage perpetuates stereotypes. Becoming aware of the language used to describe colleagues and refraining from using common tropes about women, the disabled, LGBTQ+ individuals, and minorities can lead to self-awareness and expose innate biases. Additionally, taking the time to listen with empathy can create a more inclusive workplace.
Provide mentorship. Allies are often in a position of power or privilege. Utilizing this privilege to mentor or uplift another can boost inclusive company culture. One can use his or her position to advocate, introduce, or recommend a marginalized colleague during employee performance evaluations for promotions and pay increases.
Confront bad behavior. Allies can also intervene when they see a colleague being harassed or discriminated against. Allies can defuse a tense situation by confronting the harasser, and offer support to the harassed, call for others in the company to intervene, or take the time to follow up and show their support. Creating a harassment-free culture in a company starts with encouraging efforts, such as listening with empathy and non-judgement. Allies can use tactics, such as directly intervening when bad behavior is occurring and speaking up when others engage in more subtle remarks that are prejudicial by gently creating awareness of the underlying prejudice and shedding light on each other’s microaggressions.
In order to encourage allyship in the workplace, it may be a good idea to create tools and tactics that help employees recognize and prevent discrimination, harassment, and microaggressions. A company benefits when it creates a safe workplace where all employees can be productive and good ideas can flourish.
The legal team at MacMain, Connell & Leinhauser provides training services and employment seminars, as well as human resource counseling for businesses. Prevent costly litigation by training your employees on harassment, discipline, and other human resource issues. For more information regarding these services, please contact us online or at call us at 484-318-7106. Conveniently located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Philadelphia, Chester County, and New Jersey.