In our current climate, allyship is essential in creating an inclusive workforce. Research shows a correlation between an inclusive workplace, where all feel they belong and contribute, and greater employee engagement and retention. Watch and learn how best to create an environment where we can all benefit from the power of allyship!

Key takeaways include:

  • broadening your understanding of allyship.
  • integrating new practices to strengthen allyship.
  • magnifying good practices and diminishing challenging ones.
  • creating next steps to put allyship into action.

Webinar presenter Patricia Izek, MEd., is the equity, diversity, and inclusion (DEI) consultant in the Office of Human Resources at the University of Minnesota. She presents on DEI for units across the University, including two Equity and Diversity Certificate workshops: Implicit Bias in the Search Process, and Selection Processes and Addressing Implicit Bias and Microaggressions. 

Presented on August 23, 2023.

Webinar Takeaways

Graphic: hands holding a circle divided in 5 parts named "Understand Your Privilege," "Get Curious," "Start with a Single At," "Be OKAY Making Mistakes,", and "Keep Learning."

What is privilege?

It’s basically who you are, what you have and enjoy and are able to take advantage of simply because you were born who you are. 

Few people think of themselves as privileged.

  • We all work hard
  • We “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps”
  • We all earn what we have

There are 50 potential privileges in the workplace. Here is just a sample:

  • English is your first language.
  • You have a college degree.
  • You have spare time to learn new skills.
  • You don’t have to decide which bills to pay.
  • People don’t touch your hair without consent.
  • You feel safe leaving work at night.

Know your privilege and …

  • Don’t get defensive
  • Listen to learn
  • Help others learn
  • Take responsibility for mistakes and apologize sincerely
  • Do not be a bystander. Act! Do something!

What is allyship?

Actively supporting people from marginalized groups using whatever institutional, social, and/or cultural privilege or power you have to advocate for people who face oppression. Do this by:

  • amplifying unheard voices.
  • calling out barriers and biases.
  • acting as role models in our commitment to DEI.

Curiosity is a component of allyship. Curious people are open to new perspectives, welcome respectful exchanges of ideas, and channel their learning into action. Keep in mind that each of us is just exposed to a fraction of the world so ...

  • listen to others.
  • learn.
  • reflect on what you’ve heard.

What are the barriers to allyship?

  • Status threat: if those for marginalized groups make gains, members of the majority group lose ground.
  • Merit threat: if there is inequity, bias, racism, discrimination, then it is not because of my hard work.
  • Moral threat: at our core, we see ourselves as moral and good people. If this work is necessary, does it mean that we are not?

We need allies! 
We come to work, whether in person or virtually, with our whole selves. Each day brings a new challenge. We need allies to:

  • be there when someone is misgendered.
  • be there when someone needs assistance because of an accessibility issue.
  • be there when someone seems “off.”
  • be there when someone says they are tired.
  • be there when things happen in the world.