By Tammy Ramos
Leap Solutions Group is pleased to welcome guest newsletter author, Tammy Ramos, J.D. [Click here for Tammy’s LinkedIn profile]. Tammy is an affiliate of Leap Solutions and is well known as a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Executive, Latina Lawyer Leadership Coach, Virtual Facilitator, Keynote Speaker, and Writer. Tammy presents an effective strategy for creating a sense of belonging is by empowering staff and leaders to understand the skills necessary for effective Allyship.
In this issue of our newsletter:
- Create Your Own Allyship Playbook
- The Four A’s of Allyship
In the past two years, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives and strategies have become urgent in organizations who have been confronted with their lack of diversity, especially in their most senior leadership positions. Smart organizations are beginning to make the investment in Unconscious Bias training, to develop Diversity Councils, to create Employee Resource Groups, to establish new policies for advertising job openings, and to redesign processes for recruiting, hiring and onboarding diverse talent. Organizations with more mature, established DEI programs are creating intentional Executive Sponsorship programs for their diverse talent, strategizing on solid Succession Plans and providing inclusive leadership training and coaching for its senior executives.
Today, the term DEIB – Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging has become popular as organizations realize that the end goal of any DEI initiative or program is to foster a company culture where everyone feels the psychological safety defined as Belonging. A growing body of research suggests that when people feel psychologically safe, they are more engaged, more productive and more likely to stay. An effective strategy for creating a sense of belonging is by empowering staff and leaders to understand the skills necessary for effective Allyship. To create your own Allyship Playbook, implement The Four A’s to Allyship: Awareness, Accountability, Advocacy and Action.
1. Awareness: First, allies are aware of their own unconscious biases and remain mindful of what their own unique triggers for bias may be. They also understand what Allyship means in the workplace. The Harvard Business Review published an article in December 2020 entitled “Be A Better Ally” and defined Allyship “as a strategic mechanism used by individuals to become collaborators, accomplices, and coconspirators who fight injustice and promote equity in the workplace through supportive personal relationships and public acts of sponsorship and advocacy.” It’s important to note that this definition states “individuals” are allies and not corporations, government entities, or educational institutions. Allies are individuals who create a company culture of inclusion and who understand that they have the ability to affect positive change. It is also important to note that one does not necessarily have to be in a position of power or influence to be an ally. However, those in leadership positions certainly have more responsibility and opportunity to use their roles to promote allyship on a greater scale.
Build Your Awareness: Every quarter plan one action you will take to elevate your awareness of DEIB issues and trends. Consider reading a new book, watching a TedTalk, or listening to a podcast. Last, it’s important to keep diversifying your professional network. Reach out to someone who is not like you to get to know them and broaden your understanding of different perspectives, cultures, and lifestyles.
2. Accountability: Second, allies hold themselves accountable. Allies commit to be a part of the solution of ensuring no one individual or group of individuals are excluded or left to feel like they don’t belong. When allies witness or become aware of microaggressions or microinequities, they speak up. They don’t allow biases to persist without taking ownership to do their part to correct them. This may entail a simple, private conversation with the person responsible for the microaggression or a conversation with the person who was the target of the microaggression. Or it may require something more. The ally will take ownership to correct actions and behaviors that hinder a sense of belonging.
Create Accountability: Every quarter document what you have done specifically to hold yourself accountable to be an ally on behalf of others and celebrate your success. Seek out an accountability partner and explore ways you can plan every quarter. Perhaps you make a commitment to pay attention during meetings and ensure that no one person is being excluded from the conversation, or you commit to reaching out to your accountability partner to discuss how to handle a situation where you witnessed a microaggression.
3. Advocacy: Third, allies take on the role of advocates. As stated in the “Be A Better Ally” article, “Allies endeavor to drive systemic improvements to workplace policies, practices, and culture.” Advocates ask the hard questions about policies that may be outdated, cause inequities and unfairly disadvantage certain individuals or groups. Advocates confront these practices and advocate for change.
Build Advocacy Skills: Every quarter take at least one company policy and ask, is this policy equitable? Does this policy have unintended impacts? Does it exclude a specific group of people? Does this policy help foster a culture of inclusion? Bring the policy to the attention of the right leaders to have it changed, modified, or eliminated and replaced.
4. Action: Last, allies take action. Allies do not wait for others to affect change. Allies look for opportunities to be agents of the change they seek. Mahatma Gandhi said it best, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” To create a company culture where diverse employees of all backgrounds, generations, ethnicities, gender/gender identities, feel like they belong, requires proactive actions to develop policies and practices that nurture belonging while at the same time challenging the “business as usual” mindset. Organizations who will remain competitive, profitable, and innovative are the organizations that are able to attract, retain and promote the most qualified, diverse talent.
Plan for Action: Encourage all employees to develop their own Allyship playbook. Share with them these four A’s to Allyship. Ask them to document one action they took or plan to take per quarter to be an ally. Remember, allyship is not reserved for those in leadership; allyship is the responsibility of each individual. Make it an integral part of your company identity. Consider creating a company Allyship pledge that goes into the employee handout. For free templates, please contact Tammy Ramos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, Tammy, for your wonderful thoughts to support our clients to create Belonging through Allyship.
Leap Solutions is a diverse group of highly skilled management, organizational development, and human resources, and executive search and recruitment professionals who have spent decades doing what we feel passionate about helping you feel passionate about what you do. Our HR specialists can help you get a handle on the ever-changing COVID-19 guidelines, programs, and legislation that may impact you and your employees. We are available to work with you to develop practical solutions and smart planning decisions for your organization’s immediate, near, and long-term needs.
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