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How to be an inclusion ‘Ally’

At DS Smith, every employee has an important role to play in creating a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. It’s core to our Purpose and our values. By treating each other fairly, with respect and by role modelling inclusive behaviours, we can create a workplace where all our employees can ‘Realise their Potential’.

Blog author test_2_JanV2.jpgWe are all individuals with lots of characteristics and experiences that shape us. It is what makes us and the world interesting. The wonderful mix that makes us so individual means at times we find ourselves in groups where we are in the majority, benefiting from that in ways we might not even realise.

At other times we might find ourselves in a minority which can feel less comfortable or easy. When that happens in the workplace, it really matters as it can influence how people are valued and respected, how safe people feel to be themselves, how open and fair it feels to be recognised and to progress.

ally-we-image.jpgWe all have the opportunity to make a difference to others by being an ally in the workplace. Allyship is all about positive action and a beautifully simple but powerful way to share the benefits of the majority with everyone.

Allyship is when you are not a member of an under-represented group, but you take visible action to support it.

— Jan Atkinson, Group Head of Talent at DS Smith

Launching LGBTQ+ and Allies Network

June is known internationally as Pride month, and we couldn’t think of a better time to launch the DS Smith LGBTQ+ and Allies network. The network is a great way to promote diversity and inclusion within the business and build a community where our employees, who may find themselves less represented in their immediate workplace, can find a safe space to connect, access support and collectively drive change. All of our employees are invited to join the network, no matter if they identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community or not.

The DS Smith LGBTQ+ and Allies network will provide a forum for our employees to raise awareness and advance issues that matter to the LGBTQ+ community at DS Smith. It will run alongside our local inclusion networks and group-wide Diversity & Inclusion Forum.

round-table-web.jpgHow to be an Ally - 4 simple tips

As we progress our journey of inclusion at DS Smith, two of the questions that often get asked are “what are the practical things I can do to support “ and “am I qualified to have an opinion or get involved?”.

We can all be an ally - here are some simple steps anyone can take to be an ally to others:

Be curious - build your understanding of other people’s experiences inside and outside of the workplace. A good place to start is simply by talking to colleagues and taking time to really listen and understand. Do your own reading and research.

Provide practical support – as a colleague, lend your voice to build awareness of the challenges others may face. In an organisation where relationships matter in order to thrive and be productive, use your influence and networks on behalf of less connected or represented colleagues. Be a safe and trusted support.

Whether leading or taking part in meetings - make sure all voices and perspectives are heard and valued – support or reinforce a point a colleague makes if you observe it is being overlooked. As a leader, act as a mentor for less-represented talent, challenge assumptions about what background or experience is needed to be successful or ‘fit in’, champion talent and spotlight their achievements, make sure opportunities are opened up to the widest possible audience.

Join employee resource networks as an ally – get involved in identifying the actions we can make collectively to tackle barriers and build inclusion. 

We all need allies and we can all be an ally so let’s step up and make a difference together.