This series is written in collaboration with Meks McClure.
Welcome to part 3 in our Pride series! We’ll dive into ways the recent growth of our team (welcome Nikki and Meks!) inspired us to reflect on how to make our cultural practices and tools more inclusive.
Core Values & Inclusivity
At NewAperio, we build and maintain an inclusive environment where we can be our whole selves professionally and personally:
Edification & Mentorship We value curiosity and life-long learning. We strive for continuous improvement and invest in each other's growth. We build each other up by providing feedback and constructive encouragement, both gently and often. We dedicate ourselves to consistent improvement. We make learning both expected and safe for everyone on the team.
Mentorship’s role continues to grow at NewAperio, especially since new junior developers joined us in 2021. Edification and mentorship bolster a culture of learning that helps us grow best practices — not just in our professional skills and not just for our juniors! It shapes how we communicate with and hold space for each other, including the way we use pronouns. We updated our handbook to include this passage on inclusive language:
The landscape for inclusive language is and will likely always be changing. We defer to individuals' preferred language and terms for themselves. We don’t correct the way someone self-identifies. Try to notice, ask politely if you don’t know, and be prepared to learn from your mistakes.
Our core values pointed to a need to standardize some ways to support a growing team. We added a section to our handbook to help anyone quickly adopt our practices around identity and pronoun usage:
We all share the responsibility of upholding the company values, culture, and expectations/norms. When we introduce ourselves, we share names and pronouns.
Sharing your name and pronouns can look a few different ways depending on the setting. In a meeting, this sounds like everyone including their pronouns as they introduce themselves, e.g. "My name is Logan, and I use he/him pronouns."
We are also comfortable as a team in offering gentle corrections to teammates' or clients' pronoun usage. Everyone makes mistakes, but repeated or intentional misgendering/incorrect pronoun and name usage is a form of harassment and can impact how safe someone feels at work. A gentle correction may look like this:
- Continuing to use and model correct pronoun usage
- Occasionally restating someone's pronouns as a quick correction— e.g. “just as a reminder, Logan uses he/him pronouns”— and then moving forward with the conversation
- If someone is struggling to adopt someone's pronouns, you can say, “Nick uses he/him pronouns. I’m available to chat about that or practice with you outside this conversation if that’s interesting to you,” as a way of acknowledging it while not allowing someone’s response to capture the focus of the time/space/discussion
- You can also check in with teammates and clients about how they would like any misgendering or incorrect pronoun usage to be handled (everyone is different!)
Making Our Tools More Inclusive
With norms established around fluidity and change, modeling inclusive behavior, and speaking up with gentle corrections, we turned to the practical application of this value to answer the question — how can we normalize sharing our pronouns so that it’s part of our daily practice? We added guidance to make it quick and easy to display pronouns across the wide suite of tools we use at work:
We include our pronouns anywhere our names are displayed in writing. This can be done in the following ways within each of our tools:
- Slack: We created a custom field where you can enter your pronouns when you click your avatar to edit your profile. You can also include your pronouns in the "Full Name" and/or "Display Name" fields if you'd like them to display more prominently each time you send a message or every time someone mentions your name.
- Basecamp: Enter your pronouns in the "Name" field (e.g. "Glynnis Ritchie (she/her)" on the Edit Profile page. You can access this page by clicking your avatar in the top right of any Basecamp screen and selecting "My profile" under Personal Settings.
- Clubhouse: Enter your pronouns in the "Full Name" and/or "Mention name" fields of your profile. You can access your profile by clicking your avatar in the bottom left of the screen and selecting "Edit Profile"
- Gusto: Enter your pronouns by editing the "Basics" section of the "Personal Details" page, accessible from the left navigation.
- Zoom: Add your pronouns in the dedicated pronouns field and manage how they are displayed from the user profile page.
- Email signature: In Gmail, click the settings cog in the upper right, then "See all settings". Scroll down in the "General" tab until you see "Signature", where you can enter a signature (e.g. "Glynnis (she/her)"). Below the signature box, you can assign it as the default for both new emails and on reply/forward.
We also added a question, “What pronouns do you use?” to make our job application more inclusive.
By taking the guesswork out of how and when to share pronouns verbally or where pronouns should be displayed in writing, we made our practices easy to adopt, ensuring widespread, consistent usage by the team.
This post is part of our June 2021 Pride series, celebrating a small but important part of the queer community: people existing outside the gender binary.
- "Celebrating Pride": Introduction to important terminology, recommended media, and additional resources
- "More on Gender Identity and Pronouns": A deeper dive into the concepts of gender identities, gender expression, and how they relate to pronouns
- "Growing Our Team and Cultural Practices": How we implement and encourage sharing of pronouns in the workplace
- "Inclusivity in Our Work with Clients": How our core values and workplace culture manifest in our work with clients