the responsibility of inclusion rests with every employee, leader, owner and board of directors at an organization


Heather Talamante, SCP founder & president of Tell Us About Yourself Inc.


This topic is not new, but with Pride Month behind us, it’s a great opportunity to discuss this particular topic while it’s not trending on social media.

First and foremost, the responsibility of inclusion rests with every employee, leader, owner and board of directors at an organization.

When we define diversity, equity and inclusion

HR hires a diverse workforce, once they are hired, we ensure they are treated fairly and equitably while making sure everyone is included. At the center of the pronoun discussion is a fairly simple concept, people want to be heard and respected.

How HR goes about the discussion of preferred pronouns can really solidify DE&I in the workplace.

If you want to initiate this for your organization, often it takes just one informal leader to influence change. Many organizations currently have formal and informal training on this topic, but I have included some suggestions to help you navigate your preferred pronoun in the workplace.

  • Not everyone knows your preferred pronoun. I encourage you to share your preference early in your tenure with an organization. If you feel uncomfortable talking about your preference or you transition during your tenure, share with your team how you would like to be addressed at whatever point you feel ready to have that conversation. There’s no right or wrong time.
  • If you are the one asking, please discuss and show patience as your team adjusts. Change takes time and there are often hiccups along the way. Old habits die hard, but with grace on both sides, change is absolutely possible.
  • If someone repeatedly refuses to use your preference, you can have an open conversation about how that’s making you feel, or you can ask your manager and or HR to support you in having this conversation.
  • If you feel as though you are being bullied, please don’t sit in silence, address it quickly.
  • Don’t assume that people already know your preference.
  • Add your preference to your email signature if your company doesn’t have another option available.

Some great suggestions for addressing a group if you have a habit of using, “hey girls” or “hey guys” like many well-intentioned people.

  • Hey everyone/everybody
  • Hey friends
  • Hey y’all or all y’all
  • Hey folks

These are great ways to address a group that are inclusive of all pronouns.

If you are uncomfortable with someone’s preferred pronoun, just refer to them by their first name.

Let’s make sure all are allowed to bring their most authentic self to work and let’s honor their preference without judgement.

If you do not agree with someone’s pronoun, please do not take time at work to share thoughts, feeling or opinions. This is not a topic that is up for debate as it can create an uncomfortable work environment. If you want to share your thoughts about the topic, always do it outside of work.

Respecting a person’s pronoun choice can allow that person to thrive while being a highly motivated and dedicated employee.