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How to be an ally with DE&I expert Jo Major

Steve Harding

06 July 2022

by Steve Harding

( Words)

We spoke to diversity, equity, and inclusion expert, Jo Major, about the importance of diversity training for businesses, and some tips for being an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community.

Jo has been in the recruitment space for almost 22 years and set up Diversity in Recruitment in 2021 to give recruiters the skills, tools and confidence to support their clients properly while making recruitment inclusive, accessible, and equitable for all candidates. Diversity in Recruitment’s mission is to make recruitment processes accessible to everyone and improve the experiences of underrepresented and marginalised candidates.

Jo is working with La Fosse to up-skill our HR and Learning & Development teams, to audit our business model, hiring strategies and training programmes, and to work with a cross-collaborative group of ambassadors who care about and are involved in our diversity, equality, and inclusion initiatives. This training will support La Fosse to create the most diverse environment possible and ensure we attract top talent, aligned with our values.

Read our Q&A below:

When it comes to DE&I what is one thing you want to see all businesses doing in the next 5 years?
That’s a massive question, I can think of at least 20 things, but if I can only choose one it’s got to be - do everything that you possibly can to ensure that a candidate’s identity, background, and circumstance is never the reason they don’t get the job they want, the promotion they deserve and the salary they are entitled to.

If businesses want to start making changes, what’s the first step they need to be taking to start moving forward?
Get educated; you cannot fix a problem you don’t understand. You must take the time to really get under the bonnet of inequality to understand the lived experiences of underrepresented and marginalised people. Also, understanding the diversity of your people and the way in which they experience inclusion (or not) in your business is super important, so often employers roll out events and initiatives without diagnosing the problem. A deep dive, managed by an external provider like the Global Equality Collective, will give you the data and insight you need to start the work that drives authentic change.

What are your best tips on how to be an ally?

  1. Understand that your role is to stand next to and behind the community you are supporting, not in front

  2. Learn the history, and understand the experiences of the folks you are advocating for

  3. Be prepared to call out bias, discrimination, and prejudice whenever you witness it

  4. Understand the needs and the support the community needs from you, and avoid making assumptions. Be an ally 365 days a year, not just in June

  5. You can’t pick and choose what groups you stand for, don’t ever forget the T in LGBTQ+!

How to continue these efforts throughout the year so you are not just rainbow washing?
If you must ask yourself ‘are we rainbow washing?’ you probably are to be fair. Supporting your LGBTQ+ colleagues must be consistent throughout the year, if it's only something you talk about in June, you have no place turning that logo into the PRIDE flag. As I mentioned before, you need a deep understanding of how your LGBTQ+ community experience life within your business, so you know what needs your attention.

LGBTQ+ inclusion doesn’t just happen because you have a few people from the community in your business, you need to be able to clearly articulate your inclusion work, which could include clear anti-discrimination policies, a commitment to pay equality, a leadership team that’s invested in LGBTQ+ inclusion, LGBTQ+ friendly benefits (especially family building), an active LGBTQ+ employee resource group, LGBTQ+ inclusion training, a gender-neutral working environment, Trans inclusion work, and finally supporting the external LGBTQ+ community such as supporting local charities.

What are the do’s and don’ts for businesses during pride?
Do... plan ahead, base your work around education, give examples of your LGBTQ+ inclusion work to influence others, push your network to make changes, and celebrate and acknowledge the LGBTQ+ community in other months.

Before you do anything, ask yourself what you are trying to achieve by the activity and how it benefits and advocates for the community. Be led by the LBGTQ+ community in your business, don’t stand in front of them and talk on their behalf.

Don’t... just acknowledge the month with a few statements of solidarity on LinkedIn. Don’t expect freebies and speakers if you run events. If you haven’t done any work internally for your LGBTQ+ colleagues you should not be making noise externally. Don’t let Pride be led by your marketing team alone.

Why is diversity training so important?
Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Equity can often be a broad and complex landscape where learning is never done. I have yet to meet anyone who’s a true expert in everything. You wouldn’t expect a colleague who was super passionate about maths and finance suddenly step up to be your CFO, so don’t expect people to suddenly lead your D&I work without investing in their professional development and education; passion alone doesn’t turn the dial.

A huge thank you to Jo who has been working closely with our teams. As a business, we are excited for the doors we are unlocking and the opportunities we are opening.


If you’re interested in learning more about building diverse talent pipelines and strategies, please get in touch with our commercial director Claudia Cohen from futureproofclaudia@getfutureproof.co.uk