Purple Champions & Allies Leaders’ Guide: building disability confidence from the inside out
A “Purple” champion or ally is a term used to describe colleagues who believe that disabled people should experience full equality in the workplace. They are likely to be people who understand that employees can perform better if they can be themselves, and ask for the adjustments they need (if they need them at all) and they will use their role and influence to create a workplace culture where this happens easily. They help to create a safe and inclusive environment and support employees through words, behaviour and example.
They might be one of the most senior executives at the top of an organisation or they can be the youngest, most junior person in a team. Wherever you find them, they tend to be sharing their belief that it takes all of us to create a workplace culture that is inclusive of everyone. And they tend to understand that when it comes to treating people fairly, that is not the same as treating people the same.
As we produced this guide, we spoke to many people about what makes a ‘stand-out’ disability champion or ally. From our conversations, it became clear that great champions and allies have four core traits in common:
- They tend to be the first to spot, and then do something about, the workplace or customer service barriers that disabled employees face – they like creating solutions
- They get things started, make things happen and set the tone for others
- They are not afraid to get things wrong, or say the wrong thing, or make a mistake – in the knowledge that their intent is good and if they do make a mistake they will learn and be able to convey the organisation’s aim to make it easier for employees to get the tools they need to deliver well for their employer, or to improve customer service
- They display simple human kindness when it is often just too difficult or painful or embarrassing for individuals to proactively ask for an adjustment or even just be themselves. They care about people because they know this drives engagement.
This guide provides practical advice from members of the PurpleSpace community to help champions and allies to support your disabled colleagues and the disability inclusion agenda in your place of work.
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