As a business, we are committed to nurturing a culture which is supportive and where everyone feels welcome – with us continuing to make positive progress year on year in our inclusion and diversity journey.
Saniea Ahmed, our inclusion and belonging advisor, explores the subject of allyship and the role it plays in fostering a truly inclusive culture. She also discusses how allyship can be encouraged in the workplace.
Saniea said: “The I&D journey is one of continual progress which, in a workplace setting, requires time and collective commitment from individuals, teams and leadership. Allyship – learning, showing empathy, and taking action on someone else’s behalf, despite not identifying as a member of a community yourself – is one way we can all help make lasting change.
“By learning and supporting other people with diverse background and experiences, allies are an important part of the inclusion and diversity journey. Not only can allies influence inclusion to drive tangible change but, importantly, they can also challenge any negative behaviours or biases based on – for example – race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or ability.
“We encourage allyship as our society represents diversity in many ways and we’re committed to nurturing an environment where everyone can be themselves and belong. Allies play a massive part in making this happen.
“One of the main ways in which we encourage allyship is education. For example, we’re delivering inclusion and diversity training to everyone within the business, whether it is face to face, virtually or via e-learning modules. This is a great way for us to show our employees the importance we place on inclusion and diversity, but also what they can do to support the agenda.
“We also welcome allies to become part of our eight employee community networks, which are designed to ensure visibility for all groups. They include a Female Voice community, a REACH (Religious, Ethnic, and Cultural Heritage) community and a LGBTQ+ community. Employees may identify as part of a group or as an ally, looking to increase their own knowledge.
“Ultimately, an ally’s role is to act as a champion for others, whether that be in the workplace, at home or in a social environment. The most powerful thing people can experience is positive human interaction and knowing that others have your back.”