Ask “What’s One Thing I Could Do to Better Support You?” and Other Actions for Allies

Each week, we share five simple actions to create a more inclusive workplace and be a better ally.

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Photo of woman in front of laptop, courtesy of WOCinTechChat.com

1. Ask “What’s One Thing I Could Do to Better Support You?”

When a company wins a “Best Place to Work for <some underrepresented group>”, chances are there’s still room for improvement. Perhaps plenty of room.

So, if your company wins such an award, offer to meet one-on-one with employees from that group to hear about their experience.

During the meeting, acknowledge that while the company did just win this award, there’s probably more work to do to create a truly inclusive culture. Then ask, “What’s one thing I could be doing differently to better support you, or to create a more inclusive workplace?”

And, based on this insight, take action.

2. Join remote meetings two minutes early

We love this brief video by Mozilla. It’s chock full of ideas for being more inclusive when working with distributed teams.

One of our favorite tips? Dial into remote meetings a few minutes early. The pre-meeting banter can help build relationships, particularly with people outside of our usual (and typically homogeneous) network.

Give it a try!

3. Put pronouns on your name tag, especially if you’re cisgender

Here’s a simple action we can all take the next time we’re at a meeting with name tags. Sinclair Sexsmith, a writer and non-binary person, tweeted:

Need a refresher on the definition of “cisgender?” It means a person is not transgender; that one’s gender identity (or internal sense of self) aligns, according to societal expectations, with the sex one was assigned at birth.

4. If you see the “only” asked to take notes, speak up

Engineer and Rocket Scientist Steph Evz posted a Twitter thread
about her experience being asked to take notes at a large customer meeting. And how this made her feel as the only woman in the room. As she wrote, “In a room filled with laptops and men capable of typing, I was chosen.”

After the meeting, two people came up to her. One was a customer, who said, “You know, I hate getting picked to take minutes or notes, but I can’t imagine what that feels like when you’re the only woman in the room.” The other was a co-worker who said, “I am so sorry. I just…I can’t believe that happened. I didn’t know what to do. I’m so sorry.”

Really?

Here’s a pro-tip for allies. If you see the only woman or the only person of color asked to take notes, speak up. Heck, volunteer to take them yourself.

5. Download the Better Allies book club discussion guide

Figuring out how to be a better ally in your workplace or community doesn’t need to a solo task. Instead, why not form an allies book club?

We have a discussion guide for Better Allies: Everyday Actions to Create Inclusive, Engaging Workplaces to get you started.

Download the guide here.

Being an ally is a journey. Want to join us?

Together, we can — and will — make a difference with the Better Allies™ approach.

Everyday actions to create inclusive, engaging workplaces. Together, we can — and will — make a difference with the Better Allies® approach.

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