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Empower Your ERGs through Allyship

Learn to be an ally in ERGs by recognizing the need for ongoing action and intersectional awareness.

Brief Summary

Allyship is a term that is becoming increasingly more popular. Being an ally not an identity. It’s a practice. An ally is someone who takes responsibility for fighting against inequality and injustice as if the struggle were their own. To translate this definition to allyship within an ERG, allies are people who advocate for a fair and just experience for the employees that share a common identity with the group.

If your intention is to join a group as an ally, you should learn what it means to really be one. Allyship is an active thing that must be done over and over again, in the largest and smallest ways, every day. Intersectional allyship is key; you must recognize and address the reality that each ERG member is more than just one thing and they may have different needs.


When endeavoring to be an ally, avoid the following:

1. Performative allyship: acting based on how we want to be perceived (ex. posting support on social media but not taking any actions to produce change);

2. Platitudes: empty statements or gestures;

3. Positional allyship: belief that your role and level in the organization automatically make you an ally (ex. working as an HR Business Partner);

4. Perfectionism: failing to act because you believe you have to do it perfectly or not at all;

5. Savior mentality: doing what YOU think is best for members of a marginalized group rather than asking THEM what they need.


Learn the needs of all of ERG members. Ex. a women’s ERG has women of different races, gender identities, ages, etc. and one size doesn’t fit all. Be inclusive of members’ different experiences and needs. You can also look for ways to connect and partner with other ERGs to create a more intersectional approach.

Use your privilege on behalf of others as a mentor. Be consistent in your efforts - don’t just act when something bad hits the news. Educate the organization on allyship and its importance.

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Proposed Actions

  • Recognize that true allyship is a continuous process of education and self-reflection.
  • Educate yourself by listening and doing your own research; then believe and respect the lived experiences of others.
  • Use your privilege to support marginalized or underrepresented co-workers, regardless of whether they choose to participate in an ERG, ex. publicly give credit and praise for the work of marginalized or underrepresented colleagues.
  • Use your power and influence to speak to an audience that other members of your group may lack access to (especially important for managers).
  • Open up spaces without taking them over - contribute useful thoughts and opinions but defer decisions to the group; advocate for the needs of the group but don’t presume to speak on behalf of a community you don’t belong to.
  • Hold your peers accountable for words and actions that are biased and offensive, and that may affect members of the ERG.
  • Reflect honestly on your own participation in oppressive systems, even when it’s unintentional.

Valued Guidance

Implementation Plan

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