‘I didn’t ask for this, so why the hell is HR speaking for all people who are in my community?’
Inclusive Language Guides and mis-led In-house HR teams
When your HR consultancy sends you one of these free inclusive language guides this is the implicit message to you:
– People generally agree on language being used today
– Your EDI work can be kicked off with a language guide
– Your colleagues, who you’ve not had many meaningful conversations with about EDI yet, will be fine with you telling them how to speak to each other without raising awareness around the specific issues
And some of the likely impacts?
– you start charged conversations that people aren’t ready to have because they don’t even know the fundamentals expected of them by law. And charged/heated EDI conversations can quickly end up as grievances.
– your colleagues don’t agree with the contents of the guide so you create confusion/eye-rolls at best, and public dissent at worst (think viral social media posts)
– people impacted by the guide are looking around saying ‘I didn’t ask for this, why the hell is HR speaking for all people who are in my community?’
The end point of these impacts is reputational and financial risk to your organisation.
So if you really want to put in place a language guide, make sure you’ve laid the groundwork first.
To find out what that is have a conversation with us so we can learn where you are on your EDI journey. We can then build a strategy that leads you to a language guide.
In doing the groundwork beforehand, we reckon you’ll eventually see that language guides and prescriptive instructions aren’t likely to create inclusion. And the groundwork will probably include running our Language of Inclusion session that breaks down the Principles of Inclusive Language. Contact us to find out more about this.