In a world where identity is increasingly being recognized and respected, the use of pronouns has emerged as an important aspect of inclusiveness. A decade ago, it was hard to imagine that a simple word such as ‘they’ could carry so much weight. But today, it is a crucial element of the workplace environment, and it’s essential to navigate it gracefully. This blog post will explore the significance of acknowledging and respecting one’s pronouns in the workplace, and provide tips on effectively incorporating this practice into corporate culture. At 1628, we strive to treat everyone with the utmost respect and are committed to adapting to our clients and guests. 

While some may argue that using the correct gender pronouns is solely a matter of grammar, not acknowledging someone’s pronouns can make them feel invalidated and unappreciated. For people who identify outside of the gender binary- as non-binary, gender fluid, or transitioning – referring to them with the correct pronouns is a vital part of acknowledging their identity. As an ally, it’s not only our moral responsibility but also our ethical obligation to make colleagues and peers feel respected, recognized, and included. 

As per research, one of the best ways to support those who identify beyond the gender binary is to ensure their preferred pronouns are incorporated into office documents (like the directory or email signatures). This small act of validation can have a positive impact on their mental & emotional well-being.

Additionally, it’s not enough to call out pronouns once and assume people remember them – the solution is to normalize them. Encourage team members to add their preferred pronouns to their signatures or website bios, and as a manager, model the behavior by adding them to your email signature first.

It is also crucial to be respectful and empathetic in your approach to learning and asking for someone’s pronouns. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of pronouns, starting a conversation to facilitate understanding can go a long way. Point them to credible resources, such as GLADD or the Human Rights Campaign, and be open to learning. Avoid making assumptions based on someone’s appearance or name, and ensure to use gender-neutral options, such as “they/them,” when in doubt. Additionally, strive to introduce your pronouns in everyday conversation to make others feel comfortable to do the same. Here is an article from NPR that includes a guide to gender identity terms. This is a great first step to take to learn more information about pronouns and the definition behind some terms. 

In addition to addressing the use of pronouns, providing gender-neutral bathrooms can also be a welcoming gesture in a workspace. Bathrooms typically marked under a specific gender make it hard for people who don’t identify as male or female. When feasible, consider having an inclusive bathroom within your workspace that can be used by anyone, or ensure that your current restrooms are inclusive to all.

Finally, the concept of using pronouns is not new, and other businesses and communities have been adopting the idea for years already. The tech industry, academic institutions, and major corporations are just a few examples of places that have embraced the idea of acknowledging someone’s pronouns. If you’re unsure of how to approach the subject, there’s no need to worry, there are resources available online that can provide you with information and guidance. If you are still looking for more information, Forbes published this article detailing some ways to ensure employers are being inclusive by using the correct pronouns in the workplace. 

Ultimately, ensuring inclusivity with pronouns in your workplace is an essential step to fostering a diverse and respectful environment. While it may seem like a small gesture, misgendering or ignoring someone’s pronouns can have significant consequences in the workplace. Incorporating this approach to acknowledging someone’s identity into the work culture can help create a safe and comfortable work environment for everyone involved. Whether you’re an ally, manager, or team member, it’s crucial to acknowledge and respect everyone’s pronouns through every step of the process.