Everyone needs an ally at some point in their lives. We encounter a diverse group of people who come from all walks of life in the workplace. Being respectful and practicing allyship goes a long way for your experience at work.
But what makes an ally? An ally is someone who helps lift up others. They go beyond showing sympathy and promote a positive change in their environment.
This applies to an office setting where team leads and employees can build a culture and chemistry, starting with leadership implementing diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
Practicing allyship and being a kind coworker can be beneficial for everyone.
Benefits of Allyship:
1. Higher levels of engagement
Being a good ally is vital for your organization’s culture to really flourish. Employees working at companies with inclusive cultures and strong allyship tend to feel happier at work and perform better overall.
2. Improves communication
Communication is an integral part of any business. People need to communicate to discuss plans, projects and issues the company goes through.
This does not mean exclusively including conversations about work. A workplace that encourages people to speak freely about their interests and background can be healthy for the company. It builds camaraderie and establishes support for one another.
3. Creates a community
Allyship in the workplace can also help build up your community. Showing support and empathy towards colleagues from all walks of life is a simple and effective way to foster good teamwork. It also builds relationships and develops a positive culture.
Practical Ways to Implement Allyship:
1. Show appreciation
Showing appreciation is one thing you can do to build allyship within the workplace. Everyone is facing personal challenges. Showing appreciation is a simple way of recognizing their work. In addition, this forms a positive rapport and develops a sense of community.
Being a vocal supporter and allowing people to shine in meetings, forums, conferences and online spaces can help your coworkers feel safe at work.
2. Admit your mistakes
Owning up to mistakes is not something to be ashamed of. On the contrary, it builds respect and trust among the team. Recognizing faults allows the team to re-evaluate and assess how things can improve. It shows accountability and responsibility as a member of the team.
3. Be understanding
Allies who try to understand their teammates get to know them better. Knowing their background and interests are some of the conversation starters you can explore. Building a relationship with others and learning everyone’s background allows each person to empathize.
4. Stand up for others
Sometimes we may end up in an unsafe situation or face racism in the workplace. When you see a coworker dealing with aggression or discrimination, check in on them. Make sure they’re okay and call out the transgressor. If further action is needed, being there for your coworker throughout the process can make a difference.
Being Kind Goes a Long Way
In an environment where different backgrounds and personalities exist, developing a community within the company provides the moral support needed by the team. Everyone has their own struggles, and showing kindness is a simple act of showing support.
Even if you don’t say it directly, show empathy and support to your coworkers. Kindness goes a long way and can have a lasting impression, especially in the workplace.