Using Personal Pronouns in the Workplace – SHARE Conference

21 March 2022
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Positive About Inclusion was delighted to be asked to deliver a workshop at the recent SHARE HR Professionals Conference all about the use of personal pronouns in the workplace.

The workshop delivered covered the what, the why and the how:

  1. What personal pronouns are
  2. Why they are increasingly being used, why they matter and
  3. How they can be implemented in the workplace – or at least start a conversation about their implementation.

The workshop was attended by HR professionals from a variety of different sectors and organisations, all of whom were on a different stage of their journey to inclusivity. Some of those present were beginning to see the use of personal pronouns in their organisation, for others the conversations about their use had not yet started. This resulted in some insightful discussion the key themes from which can be summarised as follows:

Persuasion – the use of personal pronouns should not be mandated. This is something that has to be authentically adopted by colleagues at their own pace. The role of the HR Professional is to provide colleagues with the rationale to get their buy-in. The use of personal pronouns by senior leaders, as part of their email or online signature, can set a positive tone across the organisation.

Explanation – the use of personal pronouns needs to be explained. One way in which this can be done is by adding a explanation hyperlink as part of an email signature. Positive About Inclusion do this, providing a link on Lucy and Karen’s email signatures to an explanation on their website.  The added benefit of this approach is that it not only informs your internal colleagues but also people outside of your organisation, including your tenants.

Organisation specific – no two organisations, even in the same sector, are the same. An organisation needs to progress this authentically and at their own pace. Consider how you can align the use of personal pronouns to your existing corporate architecture and EDI objectives.

“What a great workshop, with some fantastically engaged participants. It’s always so good to hear where organisations are at on their inclusivity journey. For some just starting the conversation is a big step, for others it’s about how to get wider buy-in and understanding.”

Lucy Malarkey, Director and Co-founder

To learn more about personal pronouns visit the my pronouns website.

To learn more about the work of Positive About Inclusion contact us.

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With over 50 years of combined experience, we’re the right choice to start you on your inclusion journey.

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