3 Ways Your Company Can Prove To Be Grounded In Allyship
By Kayla Andrews
In 2020, saying you were a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) advocate was easy because it guaranteed metaphorical applause and approving nods from audiences companies wanted to connect with. In fact, everyone was ready to roll up their sleeves, take responsibility, and get to work. But it’s now 2022, and despite the progress, it feels like the social and political pendulum is swinging backward. Last month, the Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade ruling. And close to home for this Dallas-based business, laws like SB 3 that restrict what teachers can teach about United States history are in full effect— some almost a year old now.
Although it’s difficult to face the realities of our social and political systems, we have to understand that some responsibility falls on us. You might ask, “So, what can I do?” Stay genuinely grounded in the work of DEI in all spheres. We live in a society where vulnerable communities are experiencing unfathomable levels of turmoil– and this is an opportunity to prove that your business has learned the true meaning of being an advocate of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Here are 3 ways your business can be an advocate grounded in DEI:
Be Empowered to Support
In an era where the entire internet community is dedicated to accountability, there’s a lot of pressure to be on the right side of history. So I understand that as a business, it may feel challenging to know when to speak up and when to hold back. Although you might think being vocal at a time like this is not the best course of action, when you are silent, you miss opportunities to practice true allyship.
Being an ally is being reflective about the privilege and influence you have and using it in support of those without that privilege and influence. People want to know what your company is doing to protect marginalized communities. And they want to hear from YOU. So be empowered to support them by speaking up.
Take Care of Your Corner
Many companies took the big leap in 2020 to invest time and resources into DEI work that would bring along a changed company culture, and that investment often included a commitment to advocacy. Whether you have improved and increased training, made efforts to diversify your leadership and staff, or developed new roles specifically for diversity, equity, and inclusion, your progress is important! Now is the time to not only preserve that progress but also build upon it. Think of what more you can do in your corner of the world. What resources do you have that you can lend to a movement, a people, or a community?
I challenge you to continue investing in DEI programming and initiatives at your company. With trends in society indicating that hate is thriving, communities that are directly and indirectly impacted by this need support. Now is the time to think about how your company can continue its own advocacy practices.
Consider the Realities Your Team is Facing: Where Can You Extend Empathy?
Empathy is a game-changer, and now is the time to give it freely. As underrepresented and underserved communities experience compounded trauma, they need us to show empathy in action. Be more considerate, be more patient, and be more understanding. The work will get done– but only when your team feels valued as people. I challenge you to implement “reality check-ins” within your team. Pause and take a minute to really hear what people are facing, and make your next DEI move with that insight in mind.
Often people view DEI as an activity to do for profitability— a business imperative, a checklist. But it’s deeper than that. We know that investing in DEI improves the bottom line for companies, but DEI work is meant to be transformational for the people involved and the systems it addresses. The work is meant to go beyond increasing friendliness in the office; it should inform audiences, create and maintain equity, and encourage advocacy and allyship. If there’s a time we need companies grounded in DEI, it is now.
Let’s do more good. To get more results. To have more impact.