In today’s world, going the extra mile to become truly inclusive is essential for a happy workforce, and customer base, as well as helping to strive towards a more equal society. Not just a check box, inclusivity is something that should be at the forefront of minds as business owners and leaders.
What are the benefits of a more inclusive workplace?
Firstly, it’s the right thing to do. As well as that, striving to be more inclusive in the workplace also provides a number of benefits. Below are some of the key outputs your business can expect to see as a result of actively championing an inclusive workplace culture:
Attract a diverse pool of talent - Some of the most talented marketers and business people are aware and affected by issues of social inequality and are seeking a work environment that reflects their personal values. Demonstrating an effort to be inclusive will help attract amazing talent as well as retain them.
Appeal and resonate with more customers - Social issues, and those pertaining to gender, are on nearly everyone’s radar. As a business, you should aim to align your company ethos with your customers’ values, actively showing that you too care about inclusivity.
Be different and bold by supporting out loud - Neutral territory is difficult to navigate in a media-centred sphere. Not addressing the issue may well cause you to fall out of favour with customers. On the flip side, demonstrating your allyship and taking steps to support inclusivity issues you already feel strongly about can help you stand out.
Laying the foundations to be truly inclusive in the workplace
While conversations on inclusivity may be familiar and being had by most, the correct vocabulary may not. It is not only useful but essential to educate your workforce on communicating with inclusive language. This can look like team workshops, seminars, online resources and even open conversations for example. To ensure it becomes embedded, ongoing and easily accessible sources are recommended.
This handy gender-identity glossary and information pack by Healthline is a great resource. It can also be used to serve as a basis for further research or discussion, for example, as a prompt in workplace training, or it can serve as a guideline when creating policies relating to gender in the workplace.
The Progressive’s Style Guide by SumofUs.org and ActivistEditor is a fantastic tool to use for auditing your workplaces inclusivity measures for gender identity alongside much wider themes.
When it comes to demonstrating gender-identity allyship to your customers, there is one golden rule you should always apply: never assume, always ask.
Although this rule is simple, it may require you to make some significant changes to how you do business. Essentially, you need to think through everything you do and say for evidence of assumptions; when you find them, adapt them. Where appropriate, you should replace your assumptions with questions that allow the customer to express their preference.
Assessing the gender-identity friendliness of your website should generally be a top priority. If you’re using Square Online then making updates is quick and easy. You should also look carefully at your email marketing and your social-media communications.
Once you’ve established a customer’s preference, make sure that you record and respect it. For example, with Square Point of Sale you can create customer profiles to deliver a personalised experience to each of your customers.
You should take much the same approach to demonstrate gender inclusivity to your existing staff. For example, you should commit to making such policies a part of your business culture and values.
As a first step, you need to eradicate gender-based assumptions from all policies and processes. You may need to replace them with affirmative, gender-identity-friendly language. You also need to stop outdated language from creeping back into your documentation. This may require you to provide at least some level of staff training.
In particular, whoever writes your job descriptions will need to ensure that they reflect your commitment to gender-identity friendliness. This commitment then needs to continue all the way through the recruitment pipeline and then beyond. You should aim to enable staff to use their choice of titles and pronouns throughout their duration with you and beyond.
If wanting to go even further in your knowledge, there are courses available. King’s College London, for example, offers a course on Building Gender-Inclusive Workplaces covering workplace transformation, redesigning processes and more.