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Inclusivity and "inclusive language" has become almost a buzzword in business, but what does this mean in practice? And why should you incorporate it into your business? In this blog post, I'll discuss the benefits of using more inclusive language and highlight simple changes that can make a significant difference.

Inclusive language can mean a lot of things to different people. It has a crucial impact on well-being and a feeling of belonging in your workplace. This sense of belonging is the key to improving your inclusivity, as it directly impacts your organisation's success and performance. According to Deloitte's recent Human Capital Trends research, 79% of organisations say belonging in the workplace is essential to their success. However, only 17% of organisations have processes to improve this element. 

A crucial part of a sense of belonging is inclusivity and diversity, which significantly impact your workforce. Employees are more likely to stay, more likely to work to their best and ultimately improve your organisational success. According to a 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey, a "very strong correlation exists between perceptions of workforce diversity and loyalty". This shows the importance of diversity in your organisation and your outward appearance of being diverse. This is where inclusive language comes into play. Inclusive language within your organisation and your marketing materials directly impact the perception of your organisation's diversity.

 Inclusive language goes beyond just being inclusive for your existing or long-term employees. Inclusivity also means ensuring your recruitment materials are diverse and welcoming to all applicants. Also, focusing on those new recruits is where you will get your latest perspectives on your work and have the most significant breakthroughs. It is easy to forget about the new people who still need to memorise the acronyms (for example). This creates a considerable gap in confidence because we worry about getting the acronyms wrong or sounding silly when asking a question. To which (we often think) everyone in the meeting room knows the answer. 

The question you are most likely asking is, what can I do? Here are some initial steps that can go a long way: 

  • Ensure your recruitment posts and copy are as neutral and accepting of all applicants as possible. It's easy for unconscious bias to come into play here. Use an online service to check your language for gendered or otherwise biased language that might discourage certain applicants. This can even help you get more applicants, as Zip Recruiter found that job listings with gender-neutral wording get 42% more responses.
  • Limit your acronyms to the bare minimum or make an easy-to-understand guide. This will help new employees learn the ropes faster and feel confident speaking their ideas. As the mental health charity Mind argues, using acronyms sparingly can also ensure that content and discussion are as accessible as possible. 
  • Ensure that all staff actively use inclusive language. This must be incorporated by senior staff and managers first, which will trickle down the organisation.
  • Consult one of the many inclusive language guides when writing anything for your organisation. This can have beneficial information on how to improve and common words and phrases that shouldn't be used in the workplace.

Ultimately, inclusive language is proven to help employees feel a sense of belonging, be more confident and work to the best of their ability. This can be in something other than English, too. Inclusivity is just as important if you work with customers and suppliers who speak different languages.

So, working with a language service provider like LanguageLine gives your organisation the best chance to thrive. If you want to improve and expand your business, get in touch with us today and experience the talent of world-class linguists in over 200+ languages.

Written by Alice Kosse

Work with LanguageLine