- Supporting an inclusive workplace in difficult times
- What is Diversity, Inclusion & Intersectionality?
- Get Your Baseline D&I Data
- Business case for D&I
- Write/Update your D&I Policy
- Getting Strategic with D&I
- Example D&I policies, strategies & plans
- Inclusive Leadership
- Communicating D&I
- Inclusive Recruitment
- Inclusive Language
- D&I Councils
- D&I Champions
- ERGs, Networks & Affinity Groups
- Supplier Diversity
- D&I Days & Dates
- Inclusive Bathrooms
Language is a powerful tool for building inclusion and exclusion at work. It can be used to create a sense of being valued, respected and one of the team or of being under-valued, disrespected, and an ‘outsider’. Inclusive language enables a diversity of people (e.g. different ages, cultures, genders) to feel valued and respected and able to contribute their talents to drive organisational performance.
DCA has developed a #WordsAtWork campaign and set of tools for workplaces to show how inclusive language can improve workplace culture and drive productivity.
What is Inclusive Language?
Inclusive language is effective language – it is respectful, accurate and relevant to all.
Respectful: Inclusive language involves knowing about and showing respect for all members of our team and workplace.
Accurate: Inclusive language gives a more accurate view of the real world by reflecting social diversity rather than perpetuating stereotypes. It avoids making false assumptions about (or stereotyping) people based on their age, cultural background, disability, gender, Indigenous background or sexual orientation and gender identity.
Relevant: Inclusive language gives a more accurate view of the real world by reflecting social diversity rather than perpetuating stereotypes. It avoids making false assumptions about (or stereotyping) people based on their age, cultural background, disability, gender, Indigenous background or sexual orientation and gender identity.
Why does language matter in a workplace?
How we speak to and about each other influences how we treat each other, and this builds our workplace cultures.
DCA’s Words At Work research shows that:
- Non-inclusive language contributes to and continues stereotyping.
- Non-inclusive language harms people who witness it as well as the intended targets.
- When used in job interviews, non-inclusive language results in applicants from excluded groups finding the position less attractive, and experiencing less motivation and identification with the position than those who are exposed to inclusive language.
- Non-inclusive comments in the workplace can have an insidious effect on individuals from the excluded groups, impeding their advancement at work by presenting them as incompetent and not suitable for leadership roles.
- Frequent non-inclusive experiences at work have just as harmful effects as more intense but less frequent experiences (e.g. sexual coercion and harassment).
- Non-inclusive jokes can lead to tolerance of hostile feelings and discrimination against people from excluded groups.