Prepping Students of Color (Like Stanford Does), 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 students of color at what could be an interview meetup. By Jopwell Collection.

1. Create an interview prep package

Googler Mekka Okereke wrote a thread on Twitter about why computer science grads from HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) don’t pass technical interviews, yet Stanford grads do. The TL:DR? There’s an actual class in the Stanford CS department on how to pass an industry interview, and students spend the semester practicing.

While it would be fantastic to offer a class for students anywhere (but especially at HBCUs) on how to pass your technical interview, that may not be feasible. Instead, why not make an interview prep package? Which candidates can use to self-study and prepare for phone screens and in-person meetings.

One more thing: consider leveraging the Stanford course’s syllabus and material, which the instructor made available for free as part of a UC San Diego course hosted on Coursera. Get it here.

2. Say, “That’s what I used to think, too” to push back on excuses for bad behavior

A few weeks ago, we recommended watching out for “He’s like that with everyone,” “That’s just the way he is,” and other refrains used to dismiss or excuse behavior that is borderline demeaning or harassing.

Wondering how to stand up, be an ally, and push back in such a situation? Try this out. Say, “That’s what I used to think, too. But, I’ve started to see how his behavior is getting in the way, making it hard for us to deliver our quarterly objectives.” And then provide an example or two.

3. Stand up to anti-LGBTQ comments

A recent Glassdoor study found that LGBTQ harassment is pervasive in the workplace. Just over half (53 percent) of LGBTQ employees surveyed reported that they’ve experienced or witnessed anti-LGBTQ comments by coworkers.

Folks, let’s be on the look out for such comments. And consider responding with a simple, “We don’t do that here.”

4. Ask about your company’s stance on #DontBanEquality

Dozens of companies with employees in the US ran a full-page ad in the New York Times earlier this week stating, “Restricting access to comprehensive reproductive care, including abortion, threatens the health, independence and economic stability of our employees and customers.”

If your company wasn’t part of that ad, consider asking about it at your next all-hands meeting. For example, “Do you think we can have equality in the workplace if people can’t access the reproductive health care they need?”

5. Refuse to speak on all-male panels

Earlier this week, the head of the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. announced that he will no longer appear on all-male panels. “It is time to end the tradition in science of all-male speaking panels, sometimes wryly referred to as ‘manels.’ ”

We couldn’t agree more.

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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