Being an ally is a core part of driving inclusive change and behaviours across an organisation. Having supporters who are proactive and understanding of key challenges affecting diverse groups can be instrumental in shifting 'group think,' and can also be a great leap towards embracing cultural differences in the workplace.
We asked Ross Jennison, Associate in Real Estate at JCRA who has been actively involved as a BAME ally through his organisation's employee networks, for his top 5 tips for being an effective ally.
1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Showing an engagement and asking genuine questions to try and understand another person’s perspective is almost always positively received.
2. Be visible.
Allowing others around you to see you is twofold. It encourages others to become allies who may feel more comfortable talking to you about it as there is ‘less danger of getting it wrong’. Secondly, it lets your BAME colleagues know they are supported, even if you’ve never spoken to them.
3. Be conscious of ‘norms’.
Not everyone wants to or can go to the pub. Always having events based around alcohol can be exclusive.
4. Understand that the journey is never ending.
Although this may seem bleak, it’s actually the best part! You’ll always be learning about something new which means no one will ever be a subject matter expert.
5. Get stuck in!
The obvious merits of doing this aside, you’ll have a great time learning new things, meeting new people and trying things you’d never thought you’d do!