5 Ally Actions – Oct 4, 2019




Care about diversity because of your daughter? Acknowledge you have a lot still to learn

Many white men say they care about diversity because they want a better future for their daughter. Or because they had a mom (or wife or sister) who struggled with reaching her professional potential.

If this is you, acknowledge that you have much to learn about other underrepresented demographics. Emphasize that having a daughter (or seeing your Mom’s experience) was just the starting point for your journey to be a better ally.

Otherwise, you may leave people wondering if you need to have a family member who is black, LGBTQ, or with physical disabilities to care about those employees, too.


Introduce people who join a recurring meeting

In every workplace, there are loads of recurring meetings. Daily standups. Weekly task force meetings. Monthly team updates. If you invite someone to join one of these meetings, be sure to introduce them and share why you invited them. Especially if they’re a member of an underrepresented group and may not “look like” someone who has expertise relevant to the problem at hand.

A simple introduction can help set them up for success.


Use this interview technique to weed out tech bro’s

Open Source Evangelist Jan Wildeboer tweeted:
“Heard of a cool tech-bro-weeding interview technique the other day. A male and female engineer conduct the interview session together. If, when the female engineer asks the candidate a question, he directs his answer to the male engineer, then he’s out. They said it happens a lot”


Hold sourcing jams to recruit underrepresented employees

Looking to recruit more employees from underrepresented demographics? Consider holding a sourcing jam or party to encourage your existing employees to dig deep into their networks. Here’s how it works:

  • Invite them to a meeting (perhaps over breakfast or lunch), provide food and beverages, and play some upbeat music.
  • Discuss your goals for improving diversity and the demographics you want to focus on.
  • Review open positions and suggest searches each person can do on their LinkedIn network or other social sites. The important thing is to have employees run these searches on their networks, to get a richer set of candidates than if a recruiter were to do so.
  • Share template messages for each person to send to get candidates from their networks interested, even intrigued, in your roles. This last step should not be skipped. Response rates should go up dramatically compared to a recruiter cold-emailing those same candidates.


Insist men do their fair share of office housework

A good practice for sharing the load of office housework, like taking minutes or scheduling a follow-up meeting, is to set up a rotation. Each person on a team takes a turn at doing the task.

If you witness someone claiming, “I’m not that good at taking minutes,” insist they do their fair share. Consider pushing back with a simple, “Practice makes perfect, and this is the perfect place to practice.”

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