6 ways to bolster allyship in the workplace

5 min read | Hannah Pearsall | Article | Workplace Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Job searching | Cultural fit

bolster allyship in the workplace

  1. Acknowledge gaps in your knowledge, ask questions, and make time for your own learning
  2. Be an active ally by modelling inclusive behaviour
  3. Be open to sharing aspects of your experiences and values with your colleagues
  4. Enrich and expand your network in the workplace and beyond
  5. Commit to investing your time in at least one programme designed to promote inclusivity
  6. Thank colleagues who actively contribute to inclusion activities

Allyship is critical across all areas of a business, but what is allyship, exactly? In our book, it’s a way of life: showing up every day and supporting your marginalised peers because it’s the right thing to do. So, how do you become a great ally?

  1. Acknowledge gaps in your knowledge, ask questions, and make time for your own learning

We all have a responsibility to learn more about the struggles that others face and the role we can play in creating inclusive cultures, both inside and outside of the workplace. It shouldn’t be the sole responsibility of those with lived experiences of exclusion or prejudice to educate others, raise awareness, or take action – we all need to take ownership of our own learning.

  1. Be an active ally by modelling inclusive behaviour

You should be an ally, regardless of your position in your organisation. By setting the expectations of others, role modelling your language and behaviours, you’ll help to create a safer space for everyone in the workplace. This might be: asking people which pronouns they prefer, speaking up when you hear slurs (or, if you’re nervous to say something directly, speak to your manager while you build your confidence in this), or even just using more inclusive language in your day-to-day speech.

  1. Be open to sharing aspects of your experiences and values with your colleagues

While it may seem daunting to share aspects of your experiences and values with your colleagues, starting open conversations about what makes us who we are can pave the way for more inclusive work environments. Sharing your identity at work can also help show support for those around us, particularly those from marginalised groups. For example, sharing your pronouns can show solidarity with non-binary or transgender colleagues, in addition to helping normalise the acceptance of differences in the workplace. It’s particularly pertinent if this openness comes from those higher up in a business.

  1. Enrich and expand your network in the workplace and beyond

The power of having a diverse network of friends and connections at work should not be underestimated. By reaching out and connecting with different types of people at work, either virtually or face-to-face, you’ll benefit from more diverse perspectives and you’ll achieve a greater understanding of other people’s lived experiences. Reaching out and connecting with colleagues across different teams, departments, offices, and even countries can also reduce the feelings of isolation and exclusion they might be experiencing.

  1. Commit to investing your time in at least one programme designed to promote inclusivity

To achieve meaningful change and make lasting improvements to workplace inclusivity, long-term action and commitments need to be made. National Inclusion Week is a great opportunity to reflect on the unique challenges impacting your organisation and consider what actions you can take to overcome these in the future. And if a programme or network doesn’t already exist – build one.

  1. Thank colleagues who actively contribute to inclusion activities

Acknowledge and empower those around you who play a part in creating an inclusive workplace. From big actions, like running inclusion networks and initiatives, to smaller everyday acts of kindness, championing colleagues who are creating inclusive environments will ensure they feel valued and appreciated for their great work.


We can all take small, simple actions to be better allies, and to make sure our workplaces are open and inclusive. We believe that a workplace culture built on trust, respect, equity, and inclusivity enables us all to live by our values and achieve our ambitions at work. Speak to us today to learn more about inclusion in the workplace and how you can foster inclusivity in your organisation.


About this author

Hannah Pearsall, Head of Wellbeing, Hays UK&I

Hannah has over 20 years of recruitment experience across a number of business areas, including construction and property, technology, engineering, energy, social care, human resources and procurement. She is now the Head of Wellbeing at Hays and leads on the design, development, implementation and delivery of a holistic and evolving wellbeing strategy for the UK and Ireland.

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