As Northeast Delta Dental works to continuously embed equity, inclusion and diversity in our internal and external initiatives, we also strive to create a workplace that is safe and represents the customers and communities we serve. Something as small as asking for, remembering, and using someone’s gender pronouns is one way we support our stakeholders.
As society becomes increasingly aware of the fluidity of gender identity, we have worked to acknowledge and represent the demographic makeup of our communities differently and more accurately. Pronouns are words that people use to refer to others, and are typically used based on someone’s appearance. Gender identity is an internal perception of gender and how people label themselves. Assuming a person’s pronouns without first asking can cause harm. A key to a safe space for people of all sexes and gender identities is using gender pronouns respectfully.
Two of our core values at Northeast Delta Dental are communication and integrity. We honor these values and remain persistent in our efforts to make everyone (both inside and outside the organization) feel included, by encouraging the display of pronouns. We have learned that by prioritizing inclusive habits, as simple and as small as this may seem, we are able to create and preserve a welcoming, safe environment for all of us, including our transgender colleagues, friends, customers, and vendors.
We’ve also identified that as an organization, taking steps like this allows us to be more accountable leaders instead of misgendering or making false and harmful assumptions about someone’s gender or gender neutral preference. We encourage, but do not require employees to add their pronouns—if employees don’t wish to, or don’t feel safe disclosing pronouns, we respect their decision. By normalizing the presentation of our employees’ pronouns, we cultivate a culture of respect that affirms our transgender friends, colleagues, and business contacts.
We recently issued guidance for Northeast Delta Dental Employees on how to include gender pronouns in their signature lines, so for example:
Tom Raffio, FLMI | he/him/his | President & CEO
Northeast Delta Dental
One Delta Drive
Concord, New Hampshire 03301
Here’s information for adding pronouns on Zoom as well. I’ve barely scratched the surface here. There’s a great deal more involved on the subject of people’s pronouns and I encourage you to dig a little deeper to be sure we all help create a global environment of inclusion; not just at work or home or in social settings but everywhere! I found a couple of brief but helpful pieces on the subject. Learn more about gender pronouns and how you can create safe spaces for others in your life here and here.