Non-binary refers to a gender identity that is neither female nor male. According to a 2021 population study from the Williams Institute, there are approximately 1.2 million nonbinary LGBTQ adults in the US. If your workplace is dedicated to fostering an inclusive culture, it’s crucial to take action to ensure your non-binary employees feel comfortable and welcomed. Learn more about how HR leaders can better support their non-binary employees:
Establish a Zero Tolerance Discrimination Policy
Non-binary employees can, unfortunately, experience hurtful discriminatory actions, such as others misgendering them intentionally, asking inappropriate questions, or purposely excluding them from workplace activities. Establish a zero-tolerance discrimination policy regarding gender identity with clear and consistent disciplinary action and encourage all employees to report any instances of harassment.
Edit Language In Existing Policies
There are likely many instances within your company’s documentation that include references solely to “male” or “female” only or variations of these. Review current policies for gendered language and edit them to be inclusive by removing instances of “he” or “she” in favor of “they” or simply “the employee.”
Conduct Sensitivity Training for Employees
Demonstrate that ignorance will not be tolerated as an excuse for bigotry in your organization by taking steps to provide education on non-binary issues. Conduct sensitivity training for all employees on being inclusive regarding gender identity so they can be respectful to their fellow colleagues and understand what types of questions, comments, and behaviors are inappropriate.
Encourage Pronoun Identification
It can be awkward and uncomfortable for non-binary employees to correct others, especially employees who are more senior level, on their pronouns. To show support and facilitate smoother interactions between colleagues, encourage pronoun identification for all, such as including a “preferred pronouns” field in email signature templates, business cards, or name badges. When recruiting new employees, also ask for preferred pronouns on applications, so non-binary job seekers understand that your organization is inclusive.
Offer Inclusive Physical Spaces
If your workplace currently only has bathrooms or locker rooms with male and female designations, non-binary employees will be forced to use a space that doesn’t match their gender identity and can feel excluded. Work with facilitates management to determine what options are available in order to offer inclusive physical spaces for non-binary employees.
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