Inclusive language can influence the way organisations think, feel, and work. It has the power to disarm people and create safer, more diverse, and more inclusive working environments.
Deloitte’s 2023 Global Human Capital Trends survey suggests over 80% of business leaders recognise the importance of inclusivity in the workforce, but still struggle to understand how to promote it. And, according to a CIPD report on inclusion, around 30% of UK employers said the most effective way to create inclusive environments came from analysing and altering the language used in internal communications and HR policies.
In this article, we want to highlight some specific ways that introducing more inclusive language can impact a workplace. We’ll highlight the key benefits you could expect from more considerate and inclusive language and the data to back them up.
Tips for Using More Inclusive Language in the Workplace
Before we get into the list, you may be wondering how to be more mindful of using inclusive language at work. So, here’s a handful of suggestions to consider.
- Be people-first: Understanding how someone prefers to be addressed should start with asking them. Neurodivergence can include a broad range of differences, and many people have their own identifier they’d prefer to use. If in doubt, ask.
- Use neutral words: It’s best to avoid making too many assumptions about people’s backgrounds. For instance, it’s better to refer to groups of people as ‘You all’ rather than ‘You guys’, to remove a gender emphasis. Also, try to default to ‘they’ pronouns unless someone clarifies their pronouns before.
- Encourage respect: It’s easy for anyone to slip into phrases that can make colleagues feel excluded. For example, making observations about someone like ‘You seem distracted’ may be insensitive to people with neurodivergent conditions. Such observations can also make people more self-conscious or feel excluded from the rest of the team.
How Does More Inclusive Language Change Workplace Outcomes?
Inclusive language may appear like a minefield, but it’s worth navigating. To highlight why, here are five strong reasons.
1. Tells Staff it’s Safe to Disclose
When everyone uses inclusive language, it creates a workplace based on respect and consideration. But it can also signal that it’s okay to be neurodivergent and that differences won’t be dismissed or stigmatised.
Cultivating such an environment can encourage more staff with diagnosed or undiagnosed disabilities to disclose their conditions. And, as a result, more staff can access the support they need to thrive at work.
One of those support channels is the government’s Access to Work scheme. Staff do not need a diagnosis but they do need to tell their employers if they want to apply for grant funding.
2. Makes Staff Feel Valued and Included
A safer environment can lead to a better sense of belonging. And this can help staff from all backgrounds to flourish in their roles.
Another report by Deloitte explained how the right measurement for workplace inclusion is to judge the collective sense of belonging. And with the most diverse generation we’ve known entering the workforce–aka Gen Z–companies need to make workplace inclusion a priority.
Deloitte’s report also reveals that over 50% of Gen Z and Millennial employees will leave a company in two years if they’re not satisfied that their employers are making progress with workplace inclusion.
3. Enhances creativity and innovation
More and more studies show how better workplace diversity leads to increased levels of creativity and innovation. Deloitte’s report also highlights how inclusive environments can boost workplace creativity by up to 20%.
Plus, a 2023 report from Neurodiversity in Business and Birkbeck University showed how workplaces with neurodivergent employees showed better creativity, data visualisation, and design skills.
4. Boosts Retention
Staff retention is a constant challenge. So it’s worth noting that over 30% of Gen Z employees say they want to work for employers that prioritise diversity and inclusion.
Also, up to 75% of employees say they engage in ‘masking’ at work, where they hide their differences or downplay their needs. Because of this, any employers who don’t support staff with chronic pain conditions, mental health, Specific Learning Differences, or being able to tolerate background noise or bright lights may look for another employer who does.
5. Increases Revenue
Evidence suggests that organisational diversity can lead to better company cash flow and higher revenues. This is acute when management and C-Suite leaders are open and honest about their differences. And when leaders role-model their own diversity, they give permission to the rest of the organisation to do the same.
The language that leadership uses to articulate their differences can influence their organisation’s culture. And, by using inclusive language that embraces and celebrates differences, companies can expect better innovation and increased revenues of up to 20%.
Consider Caption.Ed to Boost Levels of Workplace Inclusion
Organisations of all sizes can benefit from using inclusive language at work. Doing so can reflect an organisation’s ability to accept and value differences and lead to increased retention, creativity, and revenue.
Along with striving to use more inclusive language, organisations can also promote inclusivity by offering staff access to Caption.Ed. When made available to all staff, our live captioning, transcription, and note-taking tool can encourage everyone to feel that their diversity is welcome.
And, along with giving neurodivergent staff better access to remote and in-person meetings, Caption.Ed can increase feelings of inclusivity across the board, leading to outcomes such as increased retention and productivity.
Contact our team today to discuss how Caption.Ed could help to drive better inclusion for you.