Inclusive language is important in the workplace because it helps create a more respectful, engaged, and productive work environment. When done correctly, using inclusive language can also demonstrate an organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Here is an explanation of what inclusive language means, why it helps and how to incorporate it into your workplace culture.
Avoid Marginalizing or Excluding Individuals
Inclusive language avoids the use of words and phrases that may be discriminatory or marginalizing towards individuals based on their gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or other aspects of their identity. By using inclusive language, individuals in the workplace feel seen, heard, and valued, which contributes to a positive and respectful work environment.
Increase Employee Engagement and Productivity
When employees feel included and valued, they are more likely to be engaged and productive in their work. Inclusive language promotes a sense of belonging, which can lead to higher levels of employee satisfaction, retention, and performance.
Demonstrate Your Company’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
Using inclusive language in the workplace sends a clear message that an organization is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. This can help attract and retain employees from diverse backgrounds, and improve relationships with customers and stakeholders who value diversity and inclusion.
Help Build Stronger Relationships
Inclusive language helps build stronger relationships between colleagues, managers, and employees. By using language that is inclusive and respectful, individuals in the workplace are more likely to feel comfortable sharing their perspectives and ideas, leading to more collaboration and innovation.
Examples of How to Incorporate Inclusive Language
Using gender-neutral language is one way to be more inclusive. This means you managers should avoid using gendered pronouns such as “he” or “she” when referring to a person whose gender you do not know or who identifies as non-binary. Instead, use gender-neutral pronouns like “they” or “them” or use gender-neutral terms such as “person” or “individual.”
Avoid using derogatory language or slurs that could be offensive to individuals or groups. Use respectful language when referring to people of different races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, and abilities. Also, be mindful of cultural differences. This means avoid making assumptions about people based on their cultural background or nationality. Instead, be respectful of their customs, beliefs, and practices.
Encourage open communication and provide training to employees on this important topic. Create an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas without fear of judgment or discrimination. Encourage open communication and listen actively to the opinions and perspectives of others. Also, provide training for employees on the importance of inclusive language and how to use it effectively. This can help increase awareness and promote a more inclusive workplace culture.
Most importantly, lead by example. As a leader or manager, model inclusive language in your own communication with others. This can help set the tone for the rest of the workplace and encourage others to follow suit.