Allyship in the Workplace
Being an ally is an active state of partnership. Specifically, allyship is the act of using one’s power, position, or privilege to uplift and support others.
Workplace allies can be any age, race, gender identity, function, or level and they typically have some sort of status that enables their allyship.
As workplace allies’ part of our job is to create a society where less allyship is needed. We must work to change workplace culture so that anyone, regardless of identity, is treated fairly and when injustice occurs, it is believed, listened to, validated, and fought for.
Below we have some responses from those in Sanderson Government & Defence, when asked the questions surrounding allyship within the workplace…
What is the importance of being an ally within the workplace?
"I think it critically important for us to have allies across the staff base, so important that we’ve ran some training sessions on allyship within Government & Defence. These have been aimed at driving better awareness of the privilege some of us benefit from. For example, being a white male in a white male dominated environment, right the way through to understanding the challenges of those from a diverse community.
"Personally, I think that I have to use my white male privilege, as well as my leadership privilege to drive change across the business and by running various awareness campaigns over the course of this year, I believe we are fostering a greater understanding of being from a minority group, and this could be disability, race, sexual orientation, gender, or religion. I feel my role is to understand and support the challenges that each of those community’s face when coming to work, carrying out their job and engaging with clients and candidates." – Nick Walrond
"I believe that we should all work actively to make the world better than how we found it. Being kind is free and community is the foundation of human nature" - Kara Williams
"As colleagues we have a responsibility to make sure our environments are safe spaces to be yourself – this can only happen by owning the awareness problem and ensuring all of us with privilege understand the role of being an ally, and that our silence makes us complicit. So come on, SPEAK UP!" - Michelle Wright
"In the workplace, people can be an ally by shouting about it, by being tasteful, thinking through questions and showcasing that this really is a safe space. When I came out about by autism to my team, I needed them to know that it’s also a time for me to discover myself and that I needed that space to settle and grow, but I also appreciated the questions as it reenforces that they listened.
"Another way to be an ally is to just be there for the vulnerable and be there for the people who haven’t come out yet. If just one person accepts you, there is a big chance that there’s going to be a lot of other people who will accept you too. There is a place for everyone. Be brave, be confident and be 100% you, 100% of the time." - Sarah Mouneimneh
As colleagues we have a responsibility to make sure our environments are safe spaces to be yourself, this can only happen by owning the awareness problem and ensuring all of us with privilege understand the role of being an ally, and that our silence makes us complicit.