Inclusive Language: How To Use and Promote It at Your Organization

30 Jun 2022 Inclusive Language: How To Use and Promote It at Your Organization

Using inclusive language, and having workplace conversations devoid of exclusive language, means employees are more likely to feel like they belong and can be their authentic selves at work.

“Inclusive language opens up and amplifies your message to more people, making your blog post, job description, or website copy more accessible than before.”


Avoid company or team acronyms: Acronyms have become part of most companies’ vocabulary, but they can be alienating for new employees, candidates, or global teams.

Use plain language in your writing rather than expressions or jargon: For example, using “It’s just a ballpark figure” or “it should be a piece of cake,” without pausing to consider whether the listener knows or has heard the term before.

Refer to a theoretical person as ‘they’ instead of ‘he’ or ‘she’: Sometimes, whether you’re talking offhandedly with a colleague, you might get caught up in using pronouns that unintentionally support stereotypes.

Ensure your company’s designs or images reflect a diverse group of people: When potential customers take a look at your website, you want them to see people (or figures) that look like them. Simultaneously, you want potential new hires to see themselves reflected.

Be mindful of terms related to race, ethnicity, nationality, and culture: Many terms used daily have roots in racism and discrimination, so using them can make people feel unsafe, whether in your marketing materials or day-to-day correspondence with team members.

When speaking to colleagues about family, use gender-neutral labels for family members: Rather than making assumptions, approach conversations with colleagues using gender neutral titles. For instance, it’s better to use “parent” or “guardian” when making conversation with a colleague since “mom” or “dad” excludes family structures such as grandparents as caregivers, same-sex parents, etc.

Be mindful of medical conditions and ability terms: Common phrases like “turning a blind eye” are ableist and insensitive to people whose lives are impacted by medical conditions. It’s best practice not to use such terms unless they’re relevant to your topic of conversation.

When in doubt, ask individuals which pronouns they prefer (but make it clear they can choose not to identify, as well): It’s critical to note — there’s no one-size-fits-all “right” and “wrong” when it comes to language. Many people have personal preferences, especially when it comes to identity.

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