Using inclusive language in the workplace

Written on: 21 November 2019

Written by: Chloe Adamson

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We need to be more mindful of the language we use in the workplace to help create a more supportive and inclusive working environment.

Inclusive language is language that is free from words, phrases or expressions that reflect stereotypical or discriminatory views which could exclude particular people or groups. Communication that offends or creates disagreement within the workplace can impact employee engagement and the company culture.

It’s time for everyone to take a more inclusive approach when communicating with one another.

Job descriptions

Naturally, when advertising a job vacancy, you’ll want to have your pick of the best candidates. To avoid putting anyone off before they’ve even applied, it’s important to think carefully about the language you use in the job description.

The Gender Decoder is an effective tool to help you steer clear of both masculine and feminine coded words, keeping your job advert neutral. Choose your words wisely and you’ll have a diverse range of applicants to choose from.

Written communication

Written communication is the most significant and effective way for a business to communicate, therefore it’s important to consider inclusive language in company messaging.

This could include anything from emails, to internal or external communications. When addressing people, you should avoid assuming gender based on their role or appearance. Make sure that you also avoid particular terminology that could be considered insensitive or discriminatory.

Verbal communication

The language you use in written communication should also be utilised in verbal communication. You need to remember that context matters, the language that you use with friends is not appropriate when communicating with colleagues.

In conversation, you should avoid using language such as girls, guys, ladies etc. when addressing a group of people. Some may find this patronising as you are highlighting one gender when it may be a mixed-gender group.  Alternatively, you could use the term everyone or all to make sure that you are respectful to everyone regardless of how they would like to identify.

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