Skills for Care

What active allyship at work means

28 Jun 2023

5 min read

Skills for Care

  • Culture and diversity
  • Leadership
  • Management

Chikere Igbokwe, Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) Consultant – Allyship, Antiracism, DEI Strategy, Diversity Recruitment discusses what allyship means and how you can be an ally in the workplace to support a #PositiveWorkplaceCulture.

In a world marred by systemic racism, the need for anti-racist allyship has never been more critical. Allies play a pivotal role in dismantling discriminatory structures and fostering inclusivity. In this blog post I’ll explore the significance of allyship and offer 12 actionable points on how to be an active anti-racist ally at work, contributing to a more equitable and just environment.


Why is allyship is important?

Allyship is vital because it acknowledges that the fight against racism isn’t the responsibility of marginalised communities alone. It requires individuals with privilege to step forward and actively support marginalised groups in their struggle for equality. By becoming an ally, you can use your influence, voice, and resources to challenge systemic racism, create space for underrepresented voices, and advocate for inclusive policies and practices.


What does it mean to be an active ally at work?

There are lots of things you can do to be an active ally. Here’s 12 actions you can take to be an ally in the workplace.


1. Educate yourself: Begin by educating yourself on the historical and present realities of racism. Read books, articles, and engage with diverse perspectives to gain a deeper understanding of the experiences and challenges faced by marginalised communities.

2. Reflect and unlearn: Examine your own biases and privileges. Reflect on how your beliefs and actions may perpetuate systemic racism, and actively seek to unlearn them. Be open to feedback, listen to marginalised voices, and commit to continuous self-improvement.

3. Listen actively: Practice active listening and create a safe space for colleagues from marginalised communities to share their experiences. Validate their emotions, concerns, and perspectives without judgment. Be genuinely interested in understanding their lived experiences.

4. Amplify marginalised voices: Use your platform to amplify the voices of marginalised individuals. Share their ideas, stories, and achievements in meetings, presentations, or through your social networks. Elevating these voices helps bring attention to their unique perspectives.

5. Speak up: Challenge racist comments, stereotypes, and microaggressions when you witness them. Use your voice to advocate for respect, inclusivity, and equality. By speaking up, you contribute to creating a workplace culture that values diversity and addresses discriminatory behaviour.

6. Engage in difficult conversations: Initiate and participate in conversations about racism, even when they’re uncomfortable. Engaging in open dialogue helps build understanding and empathy. Approach discussions with a willingness to learn and grow, rather than seeking validation or defending your own perspective.

7. Support and mentor: Offer support and mentorship to colleagues from marginalised backgrounds. Advocate for their professional growth and create opportunities for them to showcase their skills and talents. By actively supporting their advancement, you contribute to a more inclusive workplace.

8. Use privilege to influence change: Recognise and leverage your privilege to influence policies and practices within your organisation. Advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in hiring practices, promotions, and decision-making processes. Be an ally in the boardroom and ensure marginalised voices are heard.

9. Continuously challenge yourself: Embrace a growth mindset and commit to lifelong learning. Stay informed about current issues related to racism, attend workshops and webinars, and seek out resources that deepen your understanding. Actively seek feedback and be open to self-reflection and growth.

10. Engage in self-reflection: Examine your own biases, privileges, and unconscious assumptions. Reflect on how these might impact your interactions and decision-making. Actively work on unlearning biases and challenging them when they arise.

11. Take accountability: Acknowledge and take responsibility for any mistakes or harmful actions you may have committed in the past. Be open to feedback and actively work on correcting your behaviour. Be willing to learn and grow from your experiences.

12. Foster an inclusive environment: Actively work towards creating an inclusive workplace culture. Encourage and support the establishment of employee resource groups (ERGs) that provide safe spaces for marginalised communities. Attend diversity and inclusion training sessions and encourage others to do the same.


True allyship requires intentional and consistent actions, empathy, self-reflection, and a commitment to change. By embracing anti-racist allyship in the workplace, we can contribute to creating an environment that celebrates diversity, equality, and inclusivity.

Through education, active listening, speaking up against racism, and supporting marginalised communities, we can foster a workplace culture where everyone feels valued and empowered. Let us all strive to be active allies, working together to dismantle systemic racism and build a brighter, more equitable future for everyone.


Find more information and articles about supporting equality, diversity and inclusion with our #PositiveWorkplaceCulture spotlight.

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