Non-Binary Inclusion in the Workplace
In the modern workplace, it is more important than ever for businesses to know how to create a more equitable, safe working environment for people who are a part of marginalized communities. While many businesses are already implementing inclusivity changes for their LGBTQ employees, their efforts don’t always include those with non-binary gender identities.
The workplace is evolving and your company should be too! We want to make sure all of your people feel valued and appreciated, so we’ve compiled a few best practices to help you create a welcoming, safe space for the entire spectrum of gender diversity.
Gendered Language on Records & Policies
Inclusion comes from even the smallest of things! Here are a few minor, but meaningful changes your business can make to existing documents and policies to make them more inclusive for non-binary individuals:
- Include more gender identity options beyond “Male” or “Female” on employee surveys, on-boarding documents, and any other documents where gender identification is involved.
- Provide an opportunity for employees to include their pronouns on name tags or on-boarding documents.
- Remove he/she gendered language from company policies and use they/them instead.
- Include the gender-neutral prefix option, Mx., on any paperwork
- Be sure your benefit and coverage offerings include multiple gender identity options. If they don’t, consider changing to platforms that do offer this!
- Make it known that a zero-tolerance policy is in place. Gender discrimination should never be an acceptable behavior in the workplace.
- Create more gender-neutral job titles (i.e. “Salesperson” instead of “Salesman”)
Re-Evaluate Gendered Dress Codes
Company handbooks are often the first real impression a new employee gets of who you are as a company and what it will be like to work with you. Non-binary employees can feel excluded or unsure about where they fit into gender-oriented guidelines and the company as a whole. Instead of using “Male” and “Female” dress code sections in your company handbook try out more gender fluid language. This puts more of a focus on dressing professionally, rather than dressing to fit into a certain gender norm that some may not identify with. You always want to make sure your employees feel like they are welcome and fit into the company no matter their gender identity.
Choosing which bathroom to use may seem mindless, but it can also be a source of stress and discrimination for people who feel like they have to make a selection that doesn’t reflect their identity and possibly outs them to co-workers. Not every business will have the space or resources to convert their bathrooms, but it’s worth considering any small steps you can take to make employees feel safer and more comfortable.
Here are some tips to making your company’s facilities more accessible to all of your employees:
- Check out your business’s office layout to see if there is an opportunity to include gender-neutral restrooms.
- If you already have a single stall restroom, consider converting it to an all-gender restroom.
- Instead of using restroom signage with gendered images (a girl in a dress), simply use signage with an image of a toilet. It means the same thing!
- If you have locker rooms available to your employees, consider making them gender neutral or creating an all-gender locker room.
Another (maybe less concrete) way to support your non-binary employees is to practice allyship daily. Actively sharing your own pronouns makes this a habitual and respectful part of people’s everyday experience at work. It’s also important to not make assumptions about someone’s gender identity. If you do happen to make a mistake, though, simply apologize and correct yourself. You’re human! Try not to make a big deal out of the mistake and be more aware for the next time. Allyship is all about respecting those around you and realizing that your experience is not the reality for everyone. Be flexible and understanding of everyone’s situations no matter how different they may be from your own.
Happy People = Happy Employees
When your employees are happier, they will perform much better when they’re at work. A large part of this is simply feeling safe and included in your workplace. A company that fosters equity and inclusion is a sustainable business that will continue to attract the highest caliber of candidates. Taking care of your people is so important!
Our HR Experts are here to help you audit, update, and expand on company policies and practices that will help your employees, clients, and customers feel safe and valued. Contact Us today for support with updating your employee handbook or developing a more inclusive workplace culture!