Better Allies | Karen Catlin

Summary of: Better Allies: Everyday Actions to Create Inclusive, Engaging Workplaces (2nd Edition)
By: Karen Catlin


Dive into the world of ‘Better Allies: Everyday Actions to Create Inclusive, Engaging Workplaces’ and learn how to foster an equitable and inclusive work environment. This book summary offers insightful knowledge on workplace diversity and the importance of acknowledging privilege for organizational growth. Discover the various roles allies can play in supporting underrepresented groups, from sponsoring and championing to amplifying and advocating. Moreover, uncover frameworks for enhancing communication and building diverse networks, ensuring a stronger and more vibrant workplace.

The Business Benefits of Diversity

Workplace diversity isn’t just an ethical obligation; it’s also good for business. Companies that are diverse have more innovative and forward-thinking teams, leading to happier employees. However, inclusive work environments can be difficult to establish. Women, people of color, those from the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities, and other groups face prejudice and barriers to success. Discrimination can take many forms, from harassment and lack of opportunity for advancement to unfair hiring practices. This summary explores some instances of ignorance and inappropriate behavior at major tech companies, such as Microsoft and Google.

Building a Diverse Workplace

The workplace benefits from genuine allies who work to amplify underrepresented voices. Building a diverse professional network and workforce requires shutting down showboaters, idea hijackers, and giving credit where it is due. Women can use amplification in meetings to ensure their contributions are recognized. Genuine allies require continuous learning and consistent effort to cultivate a diverse and inclusive environment. Small actions, such as speaking up in meetings, can make a significant difference.

Understanding Privilege

The concept of privilege is an essential topic in discussions of allyship. Privilege refers to advantages granted to a social group based on characteristics such as race, gender, class, and language. People with privilege have a responsibility to be active allies to those with less access and help make changes that promote equality and diversity. The idea of privilege is not meant to belittle people’s experiences but rather to understand how society perceives and treats individuals with certain characteristics. Marginalized individuals face prejudice and violence. Becoming allies to the less privileged can promote success and a more equal society for everyone.

Effective Allyship: 7 Frameworks for Supporting Underrepresented Groups

In this book, the author offers a comprehensive guide to effective allyship. The book explains that successful allies promote underrepresented groups in seven different ways. These frameworks for allyship include the sponsor, champion, amplifier, advocate, scholar, upstander, and confidant. Each of these roles brings unique advantages to the table. For instance, sponsors promote the talents of individuals from underrepresented groups and recommend them for roles that provide exposure. Champions direct employees to the right people with relevant expertise. Amplifiers create a code of conduct to promote equitable communication, and Advocates ensure that underrepresented employees are given ample opportunities to collaborate. The scholar is one who listens attentively, solicits feedback from underrepresented groups and researches their challenges to provide better support. The upstander speaks up against injustices and interrupts ongoing harassment, while the confidant believes in people and maintains an open-door policy. With this guide to effective allyship, individuals from different backgrounds can come together to promote equity and representation in the workplace.

The Role of an Ally in Creating Equity at the Workplace

In creating a fair workplace, the role of an ally is not to act as a savior but to tackle systemic issues. When evaluating underrepresented candidates, allies examine the criteria used to evaluate them and suggest objective benchmarks. Allies ask pertinent questions such as how many people will benefit from an initiative before implementing it. The ultimate goal of an ally is to create equity by allocating resources fairly. It is not enough to provide a quick-fix solution as this does not address underlying problems. Instead, seek to foster an inclusive culture by proposing systemic changes that produce tangible good and not window dressings. Doing what is right and just is the only way to create an inclusive workplace where everyone can thrive, resulting in more innovation, better solutions for customers, and better business results.

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