General Mills has been dedicated to creating a workplace that is diverse and inclusive for many years. Our commitment is strong. We are dedicated to building an undeniable culture of belonging – a culture we want to be reality for every employee. To do this we need all employees engaged and on the journey with us and believe that allyship is foundational to achieving this culture of belonging. Allyship within General Mills is critical to building our culture of belonging but is just as important in creating communities where every person is valued, where every life is valued. So, what is allyship?
Allyship is a journey of authentically supporting individuals and communities who have been marginalized or overlooked.
To ally is to take intentional action, like listening, learning and uplifting those around you to ensure all voices are heard and respected.
When you ally, you form genuine connections, champion fair treatment and increase a feeling of belonging for everyone.
Real is a tool to help you apply the principles of effective allyship all the time, no matter the situation.
Keep in mind, practicing REAL allyship won’t prevent you from making mistakes—mistakes are inevitable and essential to growth. REAL provides a practical guide to help you navigate mistakes (and breakthroughs!) as you progress in your unique Allyship Journey.
Below is a more information on each element of REAL allyship along with ideas for how to bring them to life. While the tools below can help you start your allyship journey, we hope they inspire you to build additional tools that are right for you and your team, organization, or company. To find more about the resources and how to bring them to life within your organization, see the Make It Yours section at the bottom.
Understand your own experience. Own your relationship to privileges and marginalization. Find your blind spots. Be aware of your unique perspective on a given situation. Notice instances of inequality of and exclusion in your surroundings.
Ask yourself: What makes me uncomfortable? What assumptions and behaviors will I have to confront? What resources can I use to help those around me?
- Reflecting on My Race
- Reflect and Deconstruct Socialized and Internalized Beliefs
- How Studying Privilege Systems Can Strengthen Compassion
- Raising White Children
- Blind Spots - Broaden Perspectives
- Blind Spots – Challenge Assumptions
- Blind Spots – Enhance Objectivity
- Blind Spots – Overcome Stereotypes
- Unconscious Bias
Recognize that everyone has a unique experience. Try to feel what others feel. Accept and respect others perspectives. Harbor sincere curiosity to see out and listen to new and different points of view. Extend kindness and understanding to everyone.
Ask yourself: What do others feel or need in this situation? What motivates their words and actions? How might my words or actions affect those around me?
- Maintaining Professionalism In The Age of Black Death Is….A Lot
- The Talk
- Host a “Courageous Conversation” at your workplace, or look for one in your community (example – YWCAs It’s Time to Talk: Forums on Race)
- Practice Active Listening (read this article or this Ted Talk or this video)
Stand up instead of standing by. Create a safe space for others to express themselves. Vocally support the work of your marginalized coworkers. Amplify underrepresented voices in every way you can. Use your influence to advocate for others. Actively seek to learn as much as you can about the challenges faced by your marginalized peers. Proactively expand your network to include more perspectives and experiences.
Ask yourself: Who needs support? Is there an action I can take to change the situation? What can I do immediately? What can I do in the long term? Who can I speak to in order to figure out how best to help?
- REAL Allyship
- How will you act? Learn more ways to be an ally here, and then create your plan!
- Allyship in Action - 6 Ways Allyship shows up
- How To Be A Good Ally
- How To Be a Good Ally - Identity, Privilege, Resistance
- The Importance of Allyship
- The Problem with Saying Nothing
- Donate to a nonprofit
Pay attention to the impact of your words and actions. Learn from these moments. Remember that every action you take contributes to your Allyship Journey. Take initiative to do your own research; online resources and make it easier than every to education yourself about concepts like prejudice and systemic oppression.
Ask yourself: How can I broaden my perspective? How might my background and previous experiences influence my perspective? How is my worldview different from those around me? What are ways I can educate myself about oppression without putting undue burden on marginalized individuals? What can I do differently and better tomorrow?
- Take time to educate yourself on any and all aspects of difference. There are MANY resources available – here are just a few. Don’t treat these like a check list that you complete by reading, watching, or listening to. You must take what you read, watch, and listen to and use it to start exploring your own beliefs, values, prejudices, biases, and privileges.
- What is the Origin of Race
- Allyship Glossary
- Expand your social network
- Lean into discomfort
- Grow from your mistakes
- Additional Resources to Read, Watch, Listen and Follow
- Always be curious…there is always more to learn!!
We invite you to explore and share our Three Part REAL Allyship Emodule Series.
These emodules will each take roughly 20-25 minutes to move through and allow for self-directed Individual practice where learners can reflect on their own experiences, blindspots, needs, and strengths related to allyship.
As a bonus feature, try out the Interactive Painting identity exercise to explore different dimensions of your own identity.
We hope you enjoy! Let us know what you think by sending us an email to Global.Inclusion@genmills.com
Make it Yours
Many of the materials we’ve provided were created for our General Mills employees. To help you bring more inclusion and allyship into your workplace, here is more information so you can create them for your workplace, tailoring the content, questions, or resources to best fit your population!