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A guide to being an effective BAME ally

In May 2018, the UN special rapporteur on racism, Prof Tendayi Achiume stated that there is a Brexit-related growth in “explicit racial, ethnic and religious intolerance”, including extreme views that have gained ground in mainstream political parties of the left and the right.


“The harsh reality is race, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability status and related categories all continue to determine the life chances and well-being of people in Britain in ways that are unacceptable and in many cases unlawful,” she said.

During such turbulent times in the UK, the need for BAME allies is incredibly important across education, working life and beyond. The CIPD's Addressing the barriers to BAME employee career progression to the top report in 2017 found that there is a significant lack of racial diversity at the top of UK organisations. One of their key recommendations is that managers become advocates and support better quality people management practice.



We have put together this easy to implement 12-month guide as a starting point on your journey to becoming an effective BAME ally.


How to be an Effective BAME ally - 1 year timeline

First year:

  • Month 1: Familiarise yourself with race and ethnicity workplace issues by reading articles by the likes of McKinsey and Harvard Business Review;

  • Month 2: Increase your awareness of challenges by attending a BAME group meeting within your organisation;

  • Month 3: Extend your knowledge by having a one-to-one conversations with a BAME colleague and discuss how you could be an effective sponsor for them;

  • Month 4: Increase your awareness of challenges by attending BAME group meetings outside of your organisation;

  • Month 5: Speak to your HR team about current recruitment methods - where are jobs advertised, what language is used in the job description, do they use blind CVs etc;

  • Month 6: Set up BAME employee focus groups to understand and address the main challenges in your organisation - ensure that feedback is delivered to the senior leadership team, HR and D&I teams;

  • Month 7: Offer to host external/sector-based BAME network events to share best practice and understand what other organisations are effectively doing in this area. Give out feedback forms to attendees and analyse these in order to ensure you are making an impact and addressing key issues;

  • Month 8: Speak to HR about unconscious bias training for all line managers and candidate interviewers;

  • Month 9: Conduct a D&I audit to see if there are any internal policies/practices that are obstructing the recruitment and promotion of BAME staff;

  • Month 10: Set up a cross-network meeting between BAME, LGBT+, gender, disability networks to share best practice within your organisation. Give out feedback forms to attendees;

  • Month 11: Organise a role modelling event of senior BAME clients for your organisation and open the event to all. Give out feedback forms to attendees;

  • Month 12: Collate all feedback/impact results of your work and present this to the rest of your senior leadership/board;

  • Ongoing: Ensure your organisation is marking key historical/religious dates such as Black History Month, Eid, Diwali etc to raise cultural awareness.

After a year:

  • Be a guest speaker as an ally at a BAME event - immerse yourself in key topics, challenges and solutions and be able to speak about these confidently;

  • Act a as a mentor to a junior BAME employee via InterLaw Diversity Forum/your organisation;

  • Write thought leadership content about your experiences.

If you need any further support, please feel free to contact us.

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