Create an Inclusive Environment
In celebration of Pride Month, take some time to ensure your team understands the importance of using correct personal gender pronouns. Everyone, not just transgender or nonbinary individuals, wants to be referred to by the correct pronouns. Understanding that there is a wide range of gender identities and expressions can foster a more inclusive work environment.
Leaders and managers who encounter various gender identities in their workplace can create opportunities for team development and improved communication by respecting their employees’ preferred pronouns.
What Are Personal Gender Pronouns?
Personal gender pronouns (or PGPs) are the pronouns that people ask others to use in reference to themselves, according to Harvard Office for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging. The most common gender pronouns are she/her/hers, he/him/his, and the gender-neutral pronouns, they/them/theirs. Other gender-neutral pronouns include ey/em/eirs and ze/zir/zirs. Here is a link to a more complete, although not exhaustive, list of the more commonly used gender pronouns.
If you are unfamiliar with a person’s pronouns, don’t hesitate to ask them. There’s no harm in demonstrating regard for someone’s identity.
Using the correct pronouns of your colleagues shows them respect, which helps cultivate an inclusive environment. Not only do inclusive environments reduce stress in the workplace, but they also maximize collaboration and increase employee satisfaction.
If you mistakenly misgender your teammate, simply apologize and correct your error. If someone habitually misgenders a co-worker, it can be viewed as discriminatory. Discrimination based on sex, including sexual orientation and sexual identity, is illegal.
Lead By Example
Build an environment of inclusivity to help all of your employees feel seen and respected. Including your pronouns in your email signature and when you introduce yourself conveys a sense of alliance. Keep in mind that revealing one’s pronouns may cause anxiety for some LGBTQ+ people, so don’t force your employees to do so. You can also incorporate neutral language when addressing your team.
For example, instead of “Thanks, guys,” you can say “Thanks, everyone.”
Ignoring employees who wilfully use incorrect pronouns can lead to workplace anxiety and exclusion. Respectful behavior, including proper pronoun usage, should be a part of employee policies, with workplace culture reflecting those policies.
Do’s & Don’ts
- Do say your pronouns when introducing yourself.
- Don’t ignore mistakenly using an incorrect pronoun.
- Do incorporate neutral language when addressing the team.
- Don’t assume a person’s pronouns based on the way they look.
- Do respect your team members’ privacy and journey.
Cura HR strives to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace. We believe diversity comes in many different forms—from who we are and what we believe to our personal passions and skill sets. We celebrate what makes us unique and are mindful of creating space for every voice in the room. At Cura HR, the pursuit of diversity and inclusiveness is a journey rather than a destination.
If you would like to discuss your HR needs, get in touch with us today, we’d love to learn about your business.