Most companies are now focusing on diversity in the workforce, and the usual way to do this is to hire more people of different ethnicities, which is excellent. However, this doesn’t make your work culture inclusive. To be inclusive is to make everyone feel welcomed and supported. For that, you need to be gender inclusive too.
Even with the pressure on companies to create a more diverse and inclusive hiring process and work culture, women still get the short end of the stick. It goes beyond the wage gap, which shouldn’t even be an issue in 2022, though unfortunately is. Most women and non-binary people do not feel like they belong in the workplace; they’re often isolated, rarely given decision-making authority, and the work culture is primarily built to cater to men.
Most of this is not done on purpose; it’s decades of doing something in a certain way with little wiggle room. Thankfully, that’s changing. At AllyBot, we don’t believe a workplace is inclusive if its staff feel out of place. But, it’s not too late to change that.
Here’s an easy guide on understanding gender inclusivity, the benefits of being gender inclusive, and ways companies can become more gender inclusive. Read on for ways to make your company diverse AND inclusive!
What Does a Gender-Inclusive Workplace Look Like?
A mistake many companies make is to hire more women to level the ‘male to female employees workplace ratio’ to be more gender diverse. While this is an excellent start, gender inequity is far more than that.
This is a culture of misogyny and patriarchal beliefs that needs to be cut from the roots rather than trimmed around the stems. A workplace that truly welcomes inclusivity will support women, as well as non-binary, trans, and any other marginalized group, and make them feel heard.
A truly inclusive workplace can only be created when gender is ignored, and everyone is supported and given equal opportunities. Not only will this foster respect amongst the staff, but it will also provide them ample opportunities for personal growth and will benefit the company by improving its brand image and reducing the employee turnover rate.
An inclusive environment also attracts applicants, and the company becomes alluring for job-seekers. Therefore, there is no harm in fostering a culture of respect, support, and equality at your company; instead, a diverse and inclusive work culture is shown to increase profits and improve company performance, among other benefits.
Benefits of a Gender Inclusive Workplace
While we have discussed a few benefits of having a gender-inclusive work environment above, there are many more, such as:
- Better Collaboration
Numerous studies have highlighted the benefits of having a more diverse workforce; it brings different perspectives to the table, brainstorming is done on a higher level, and teams have an easier time collaborating with each other.
When you have a mix of genders and backgrounds in your team, with all sides willing to accommodate each other, it also creates an environment that feels psychologically safe and paves the way for women and other marginalized groups to unlock their real potential.
- Gives Way to True Diversity
While many mock diversity as companies trying to get unions and bad press off their back, it’s far more than that. In its truest sense, a diverse work environment allows people to be at their most comfortable. When your staff feels heard, respected, and understood, not only will they give their 110%, they’ll treat the company like it’s their family and will work on ways to boost its growth. Likewise, a company that values its employees will have employees that value it back in equal measures.
“If you don’t create a great, rewarding place for people to work, they won’t do great work.” – Ari Weinzweig, co-founder of Zingermans Deli.
- Makes Your Company More Appealing
Post-pandemic, it is still increasingly hard for companies to work and flourish at the level they were a few years ago. Right now, you want to give candidates even more of a reason to join your firm. However, there is little chance of that happening if they don’t feel welcome at your company—a company that isn’t inclusive.
A company that is not diverse not only lacks internally but is more likely to come under scrutiny of the internet as well as media sources. Focus on gender inclusivity; it will promote a good image of your company, even in tough times.
3 Ways to Encourage Gender Inclusivity through Behavior and Language
- Use the Correct Pronouns
It is always important to try to do better to understand people and make them feel accommodated, and using their pronouns correctly is the right way to do that. However, it’s understandable that mistakes and confusion happen. So, the ideal way to deal with this is to use ‘they/them’ instead of ‘he/she/her/him’ or refer to them by name.
We use they/them all the time for people we don’t know and often use it without thinking, e.g., “I was supposed to go over this document with them,” “they should be here in a bit,” etc.
It’s not that you have to learn a new way of talking altogether, it’s already present in your mental dictionary. You just have to remind yourself a few times untill it becomes second nature to you. An easy solution for this over chat is AllyBot. Our innovative bot assists with all-inclusive language and ensures your words do not make anyone feel unwelcome.
Besides that, while working on Slack, you can even turn on pronouns that let people know how to address you properly!
- Educate Employees About Gender-inclusive Language
This is simple enough to do, and just by having certain policies in place, you’ll have a gender-inclusive work environment.
- Enforce a strict, no-interruption policy rule. A study found that men are 33% more likely to interrupt women than other men during conversations. Put a stop to this in your company.
- Make sure your job postings don’t fall prey to gendered language.
- Make sure all your employees are treated in a fair way with no biases attached.
- Lead By Example
Most employees follow in their leader’s footsteps. If you do not treat all your employees in the same manner, exclude staff because of gender and ill-perceived notions, and do not acknowledge all your staff’s hard work, you’re allowing for the mistreatment of many of your employees.
Lead by example and when you mess up, own it. When you demonstrate you’re not afraid to own up to your mistakes, your employees will follow suit.
Create a Safe, Gender-Inclusive Space for Everyone
Creating a gender-diverse workplace requires commitment, but you’ll see with time that your efforts have borne fruit. Start little by little and encourage all your employees to do the same. Words go a long way, but actions speak much louder.
For this reason, consider AllyBot for your team, an innovative software that checks over 400 non-inclusive words and phrases to ensure all your staff members feel heard, respected, and included. Use this in Slack to ensure your or your staff’s words never exclude anyone.