- Workplace allies can use a range of strategies to increase inclusion of those who are marginalized due to their race, ethnicity, gender, disability, age and/or LGBTQ+ status, according to a curated research report from Bentley University's Gloria Larson Center for Women and Business. The authors reviewed more than 200 resources to compile the report.
- Employees of organizations that foster strong allyship and inclusion cultures are 50% less likely to leave, 56% more likely to improve their performance, 75% less likely to take a sick day, and up to 167% more likely to recommend their organizations as great places to work, according to the report.
- The report suggested that allies avoid "performative allyship," engage in "Brave Dialogues" and amplify marginalized people's voices, among other strategies.
Inclusion has received more focus over the past year as companies come to recognize its importance. A McKinsey report released in May 2020 found that companies often see improvements in their diversity when they use a systematic, business-led approach with a special emphasis on inclusion.
The role of workplace allies, defined by the university's Center for Women and Business as "those who actively promote and aspire to advance a culture of inclusion utilizing intentional, positive efforts," has been gaining more attention, as well.
In previous conversations with Transport Dive sister publication HR Dive, thought leaders have emphasized the importance of trust in allyship relationships, as well as intentional, conscious efforts on the part of the ally to support the individual in need of allyship. They have also noted the role of bold actions, such as when Alexis Ohanian, co-founder and former CEO of Reddit, stepped down from the company's board last June and urged members to fill his seat with a Black candidate.
As the concept of allyship has received more focus, critiques of performative allyship — which the Center for Women and Business authors identify as the sharing of knowledge related to privilege and inequity without the accompanying use of privilege and resources to make change — have grown.
This has gained special attention recently with respect to the Asian American Pacific Islander community, which experienced an increase in discrimination due to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite an increased focus on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives last year, a report on anti-Asian violence found that 8% of incidents occurred in the workplace, including workplace discrimination and refusal of service from establishments, transit or ride-shares.
Fostering inclusivity and allyship in the workplace has more to do with culture than specific programming. It's about embedding the concepts in the day-to-day operations of the company, leaders in the space previously told HR Dive.
The Center for Women and Business report agreed, suggesting that to increase effective allyship, organizations should "embed a culture of safety," adopt nonjudgmental dialogue, use one-on-one conversations and make a public commitment to inclusion.