Should You Rethink Your Work Speak? 5 Ways to Promote Allyship at Work


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Should You Rethink Your Work Speak? 5 Ways to Promote Allyship at Work

On average, people spend 24 percent of their time working. However, this doesn’t even include the time spent preparing for work, traveling to and from, and overtime. Since you spend a significant portion of your day at your jobs, being in a positive and inclusive atmosphere is important.

Aside from company initiatives, you can still contribute to creating a supportive workplace by how you speak. Evaluating your work speak makes it easier for those around you to work together, promoting a healthy environment and fostering allyship.


What Is Work Speak? 

Work speak refers to the language, style, and communication norms that manifest in many professional settings and workplaces. This typically includes elements like jargon, coded vocabulary, use of acronyms, unwritten rules of engagement during meetings, water cooler chatter, and more.

In essence, work speak reflects and reinforces an organization’s existing culture and values, ultimately impacting allyship within the workplace.


How Does Work Speak Affect Allyship? 

Allyship involves supporting an inclusive environment where all people feel welcomed, represented, and valued. While not always intended, word speak can create negative outcomes within the workplace.

For example, problematic work speak creates barriers to entry that cause outsiders or new employees to struggle in following conversations riddled with unfamiliar terms. It reinforces the existing dominant structure rather than creating a welcoming space for other voices.

Further, exclusive language alienates people from underrepresented backgrounds, which prevents them from fully engaging with their colleagues. Coded vocabulary or “insider speak” allows individuals to make efficient decisions. However, it leaves other professionals, especially those outside the group, feeling left out, making it difficult to engage in organizational processes.

Read More: A Deep Dive into Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’s Role in IT Delivery 


Benefits of Refining Your Work Speak 

Refining your work speak and making it more inclusive fosters an equitable work environment. It provides a thoughtful consideration to convey and listen to different views and perspectives. Moreover, it boosts idea exchange, social equity, allyship, employee satisfaction, and retention.

Fresh innovations can flourish by minimizing assumptions, checking biases in communication norms, and welcoming alternative viewpoints. Inclusive speak enhances accessibility for those unfamiliar with the organizational jargon, ultimately strengthening team collaboration and cooperation.

Imagine a workplace where employees show up every day energized without fear of discrimination or being left out—this is how an inclusive environment looks like—and you’d be contributing to a happier and more satisfied workplace just by the way you speak.

Read More: Harnessing the Potential of Diversity – A Catalyst for Tech Innovation and Progress 


5 Tips for Promoting Allyship at Work 

If you’re wondering where to begin in enhancing your communication skills and promoting allyship at work, consider these five tips:


1. Use inclusive language.

Using inclusive language is more than just avoiding offensive terms. Instead, it’s about being mindful of how your words may unintentionally exclude or marginalize others. Inclusive language acknowledges and respects the diverse identities and experiences of individuals in and outside the workplace. This means consciously choosing words and phrases that are neutral and inclusive.

For example, use collective labels like staff, teams, and colleagues instead of gendered terms like guys to refer to everyone.

Inclusive language also involves avoiding insider jargon or acronyms that may be unfamiliar to others. Moreover, you can provide explanations or context when necessary to ensure everyone can participate fully in conversations.


2. Respect name and pronoun preferences.

Another way to improve allyship is to respect other preferences. Whether it’s their preferred pronouns or nicknames, calling them what they want to be called is basic courtesy and fundamental to creating an inclusive workplace culture.

When you use someone’s preferred name and pronouns correctly by asking, you affirm their identity and dignity. This simple act of respect can have a profound impact on their well-being and sense of belonging.

This is specifically true for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals who may already face discrimination in other areas of their lives. Think of your small effort as a significant way of making them feel more welcomed and respected in the workplace.

By respecting people’s names and pronouns, you foster an environment where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued for who they are.


3. Acknowledge diverse perspectives.

In any workplace, there is a wealth of knowledge and experience among employees from diverse backgrounds. Actively seeking out and acknowledging these diverse perspectives is essential for creating an inclusive and equitable environment at work.

More than this, acknowledging diverse perspectives can also positively impact the quality of your decisions. By seeing other viewpoints, you gain various approaches to a problem and solve it using the most efficient solution.

This means creating a space where people share their insights and ideas, valuing and listening to everyone’s contributions. You can help your organization foster a culture of respect, empathy, and collaboration by simply recognizing and appreciating everyone’s unique perspectives and experiences. Ultimate, you help empower those around you to bring their best work.


4. Avoid making assumptions.

Although people think otherwise, language is rarely neutral. The words you choose reflect and reinforce social norms and power dynamics even when you don’t intend to. To best promote allyship, avoid making assumptions by changing your language and terminologies. To do this, you need to know how certain languages sustain biases and marginalize specific groups.

For example, assuming someone’s skills based on their generation can perpetuate age stereotypes. A boomer can still be tech-savvy, and a Gen Z can still be resilient despite what most people think. By changing your thoughts, you can become a better ally within the organization.


5. Speak up against discrimination.

Discrimination and bias should have no place in the workplace, yet they can still manifest in subtle ways through language and behavior.

As an ally, you are responsible for speaking out against discrimination whenever you encounter it. This requires courage and commitment, but it is essential for creating a workplace where everyone feels safe, respected, and able to thrive.

By using your privilege to amplify the voices of marginalized individuals and advocate for their rights, you can personally ensure allyship within your teams.



Whether you’re a company leader or a dedicated professional, it’s essential to do your part in establishing a workplace that promotes diversity and allyship.

If you’re looking for the right company to work for or a workforce to employ with the same values of advocating for inclusion, Strategic Systems is the perfect staffing partner for you.

Allow us to help you be a part of an inclusive and diverse working environment. Let us help you achieve your career aspirations or business objectives. Contact us today!