Limelight
01423 206909

Why inclusivity in business can benefit everyone…

When we see the words diversity, equality, and inclusion, we can panic a little bit.  Don’t worry, I feel that too. But, what if I told you that we don’t need to fear this conversation and we are more likely to succeed when we embrace it?

 

‘When Queer folks don’t have to waste their energy on dynamically risk assessing their environment productivity and creativity goes up.’ – Claudia Woody

 

Claudia Woody one of the most powerful LGBT women in business completed a study called, ‘the cost of thinking twice’ and it was to show statistics and information on how our work environment changes when people feel safe to come out and don’t have to hide who they are.  Humans dynamically risk assess all the time, we did it this morning whilst we were making our morning coffee, whilst we were driving to work or dropping the kids off at school.  We do this sub-consciously to make sure that we are safe.  Queer folks do this on a heightened level; where is my nearest exit, can I use the bathroom without judgement, can I speak to my colleagues about my weekend with my same gendered partner and our fostered children?  These questions are on a constant loop to make sure that they are safe to be who they are but, it is fuelled by adrenaline and anxiety.  This level of thought processing is pretty draining and as queer person myself; I feel it.

So, what can we do to ease this dynamic risk assessment for queer people?


1. Pronoun Development

Conversations around pronouns are becoming a lot louder in the spaces we take up and about how we need to stop assuming someone’s gender or identity from face value.  Ways we can do this is by establishing what pronouns someone uses so that we can affirm their identity, create visibility, and champion them on being their authentical selves. 

Here are a few ways we can do this together:

-        Ask what someone’s pronouns are. ‘Hello, can I please ask what your pronouns are?’

-        Using gender neutral language until someone corrects you.

-        Instead of using a pronoun use their name instead (they will probably as you why you keep saying their name on repeat)

-        Introduce yourself using your own pronouns. ‘Hello, my name is Alex and I use they/them pronouns.’

 

These 10 second steps make all the difference when inviting people into conversations and affirming that not everyone lives within the gender binary.  By doing this you will ease the feeling of anxiety and allow that person to feel more comfortable to show off their amazing assets. 


2. Staff Training

CPD and keeping ourselves up to date with our learning is important when we are delivering a service or a product to someone.  They want to know, that you know your stuff.  Inclusion training is just as important for you and your team.  Offering awareness or knowledge building training around the LGBTQIA+ community creates space for people to learn and expand their knowledge on how they can support, work, and reach out to more people that require what you have.  Having this embedded into your induction package and annual training matrix creates a culture of knowing who your clients are or potential clients could be.  You general safer spaces where people can trust you to validate and respect their lived experienced a long with giving them a sense of belonging and knowing the significance of having their voice here.


3. Language habits:

We all have our own language habits that we can developed since we were born, and they will change depending on the environment you are in.  How you speak to your family will be completely different to how you speak to your friends or your work colleagues.  Stepping away from gendered language and finding creative ways in how we can include other people gives visibility and empowerment. 

-        Introductions, ‘Hello everyone, Hello folks, Hello lovelies, Hello earthlings.’ – You can get super creative.  By moving away from ‘Hello ladies and gentlemen, hello boys and girls.’ We represent people that live outside the gender binary and we adapt our language to reach a wider audience.

 


Why is this important in business?

We want people to be able to reach our services and products, we want people to be invested into our businesses and to make genuine and real connections, we want a strong foundation for people to feel seen and heard.  Inclusion is a significant part of this growth.  When we lean into conversations surrounding inclusion it can be uncomfortable because we all get scared to get it wrong; but right now, I give you all full permission to get things wrong so that you can get things right; this is the only way we can move forward so that we have:

 

-        Positive work culture

-         Staff retainment

-        Strong leadership

-        Clear communication

-        A compassion environment.

 

‘You are 35% more likely to be profitable in your business if you are visibly and actively inclusive.’ – Claudia Woody


Skimming stones was something I loved to do as a kid.  I would search for the perfect stone, stand on the water’s edge and skim away.  How magical is it when you see the ripples that come off the stone, they just keep going and going, watching the ripples expand over the water get bigger and bigger.  When we take 10 seconds to make one move for active inclusion, we start our own ripples in our business which expand and grow with time and patience.  We have the power to make change, we have control to platform more people and give them a sense of belonging where they can be unapologetically themselves.  Pick up a stone, it doesn’t have to be perfect, take a deep breath, skim away and watch the magic unfold.

If you need support or guidance, please contact [email protected] to speak with Alex to find out how they can help you make these steps for yourself and your business.