At this point, genuine allyship is essentially a prerequisite for any organization to function long-term and remain in good public standing. Let’s take it back to the basics – what is allyship? Allyship is regarded as people with more privileged positions in society actively standing with and advocating for social justice for marginalized communities. However, today’s workforce is posed with a unique challenge. How can we be better allies amid the remote workplace? Even though we aren’t face to face, allyship is still just as important and requires just as much thought and initiative. Let’s take a look at what we can do to keep allyship at the forefront and how HR managers can ensure that it remains a priority!
There is so much to be gained from dedicating some company time to learning about DEI topics for the purpose of enforcing and encouraging allyship. At GoCo, we hold monthly trainings that focus on various minority communities to learn about them and how to be both sensitive and supportive. We’re fortunate to have team members with all sorts of backgrounds, so we definitely tap into that and enjoy learning from our peers!
These training sessions should be more geared towards your hiring team. They are essentially the ones who structure your organization by deciding who gets to be a part of it! That’s why it’s crucial that they are actively looking for people from all different backgrounds as well as people who avidly support those from other walks of life. The best way to avoid a potential conflict of this nature is to prevent it from the very start, meaning the hiring process.
Here at GoCo, we have a DEI Task Force composed of people from all walks of life, both allies and those from marginalized groups. We use this task force as a hub for all things DEI and allyship, an educational resource that provides training to the rest of the company, and a catalyst for initiatives that support minorities both within our company and out in our community. We love this task force, as it provides common ground for people that may not get a chance to interact otherwise, and that too for a great cause!
A key aspect of allyship is education. Creating an open environment to discuss, teach, and learn is extremely important to making any sort of progress in terms of allyship and awareness. GoCo allows for anonymous workflows, which could be a great tool in establishing this space. People can submit questions and share their experiences without the fear of being singled out.
Enforcing inclusive dialogue, both in person and online, is mandatory. This includes respecting people’s pronouns, avoiding intentionally deadnaming trans team members, and simply being mindful of the people around you. After all, your organization is a team. You have to make sure that HR and leadership is fostering an environment in which every single member of that team feels welcomed, appreciated, and safe!
Talks about allyship and inclusion aren’t always sunshine and rainbows. There’s another side of the coin that needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world, and sometimes people go out of their way to attack others. If this happens within your company, it is your responsibility to ensure that the situation is dealt with properly. Make it crystal clear that intentional violations and disrespect towards anyone else will not be taken lightly, as marginalized groups may require extra protection from prejudice. The specifics of what consequences may look like can be up to your discretion, but be sure that they align with the offense.
We can’t stress enough how important allyship is to making progress in protecting marginalized people. Allies can provide a rock of support and amplify marginalized voices, and this rings true for the workplace just as much as anywhere else. We spend so much of our lives at work, so let’s make sure work is somewhere that everyone actually wants to be!