In all organizations, the values of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) hold increasing significance. Within the workplace, it is essential that all employees feel valued and respected, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or any other defining characteristic. Therefore, allyship plays a significant role in promoting and embodying DEIB within a workplace.
Allyship involves establishing supportive relationships with individuals and groups from underrepresented communities. Trust, consistency, and accountability are three fundamental components of allyship. Trust is cultivated by genuinely listening to their experiences, perspectives, and needs, demonstrating empathy, respect, and a commitment to continuous learning and personal growth. Consistent advocacy and support are integral, as allyship requires an ongoing commitment rather than a one-time action. Lastly, accountability entails taking responsibility for one’s actions by being receptive to feedback, acknowledging and addressing any biases or prejudices, and actively working towards dismantling oppressive systems.
It is important to note that a diverse workforce alone does not automatically qualify an individual or organization as an ally. Acknowledging one’s role as an ally is merely a first step. True allyship involves intentionally supporting and standing in solidarity with these employees.
Outlined below are several actions that allies can take to foster DEIB within the workplace:
Educate oneself on matters concerning diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.This includes understanding the experiences of marginalized groups and expanding one’s awareness of the impact of systemic oppression on these groups. Here are a few examples of the many ways you can continue learning about DEIB:
- Tune in to podcasts about diversity and inclusion, such as those from Anne-Marie Pham, CEO of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion.
- Expand your understanding by participating in cultural and indigenous events like Workforce Forward 2023.
- Read a book like “The Leader’s Guide to Unconscious Bias: How To Reframe Bias, Cultivate Connection and Create High-Performing Teams” by Pamela Fuller, Mark Murphy, and Anne Chow.
- And many more
Utilize one’s privilege to advocate for change. This encompasses speaking out against discriminatory practices and policies within the workplace and leveraging one’s influence to champion diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Provide support and validation to individuals who may face discrimination in the workplace. This includes actively listening to their concerns and experiences, offering support and resources, and advocating for their needs.
Cultivate a culture of inclusivity and respect within the workplace.This entails fostering open communication, encouraging diverse perspectives, and nurturing a sense of belonging among all employees.
Being an ally requires us to actively listening to the experiences of others and utilizing one’s privilege and influence to amplify their voices and facilitate change.
Now that we have explored the essence of true allyship, assessing your business initiatives, processes, and current policies and procedures is critical. Are your existing policies and procedures aligned with legislative requirements, best practices and the specific DEIB needs of your workforce? Are we seeking support to promote DEIB within your workplace?
Salopek can help develop and implement policies and procedures that promote inclusivity, create initiatives focused on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB), and provide DEIB training that serves as a starting point to build awareness and initiate crucial conversations within your organization.
*This blog was written and edited by our Director of Consulting Services, Kate Ashton, and HR Assistant, Gia De Vera.