How should HR provide support for non-binary employees?

July 23rd 2021 | Posted by phil scott

How should HR provide support for non-binary employees?

How should HR provide support for non-binary employees?

Non-binary inclusion is an essential aspect of any workplace.

HR professionals recognise that they are integral to ensuring this happens. They are responsible for creating an environment that is inclusive and supportive of all employees including those who identify as non-binary.

There are several things that reputable HR managers are doing in order to support non-binary employees in the workplace. This begins with developing their own understanding of the meaning of non-binary and communicating this understanding across the organisation.

Understanding the meaning of non-binary

Top HR managers know that they cannot hope to support non-binary employees without developing an understanding of who they are. Non-binary is in fact an umbrella term that refers to anyone who does not completely identify with either the male or female gender.

This could mean that they do not identify with either gender, that they identify as gender fluid or that they identify as having multiple genders. In some cases, an individual’s gender embraces elements of male and female. Everyone whose gender identity falls within the overall term of non-binary should be respected and supported within an organisation.

There are several steps knowledgeable and experienced HR managers ensure the organisation takes in order to make this happen.

Using inclusive language

One of the most important steps to supporting non-binary employees is using inclusive language. For example, using terms such as “you all” or “everyone” is more inclusive than saying “ladies and gentlemen.”

Conscientious HR professionals encourage the conscious use of inclusive language within the organisation so that non-binary employees do not feel excluded.

Recognising correct pronouns

A further aspect of ensuring inclusivity is using the correct pronouns for an individual. In general, everyday communication this includes using “they” and “them” instead of “he” and “she.”

There are also other methods that HR managers are introducing to organisations including:

  • Introducing new employees using their chosen pronouns. It’s important to note that employees should never be forced to acknowledge a particular pronoun or discuss the subject.
  • Ensuring that everyone within the organisation understands the importance of using correct pronouns.
  • Making sure that there is a willingness to accept being corrected when addressing someone using the wrong pronoun.

Amending documentation, records, and policies

Documentation can be a big problem for people who identify as non-binary. For example, it’s difficult for them to complete a form that only includes males and females as options. This can happen as part of the onboarding process and does not present a good first impression of the organisation.

Well-informed HR managers ensure that documentation, records, and policies all make use of inclusive language including the use of the gender-neutral option Mx.

Considering available facilities

HR leaders are also taking the lead as businesses reconsider their facilities to include employees who identify as non-binary. For example, having male and female toilet facilities can force individuals to make a choice that they are not comfortable with.

In relation to these facilities, businesses are creating new gender-neutral bathrooms or considering whether they can change current bathrooms into all gender facilities.

As the work to ensure workplace inclusivity for those who identify as non-binary continues, HR professionals are at the forefront. They have the opportunity to make a real difference.

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