Inclusive language means choosing your words deliberately in order to acknowledge the various identities, backgrounds, and experiences of all people. In the workplace, inclusive language sets the tone for better teamwork and productivity by signaling that you respect your coworkers, employees, clients, consumers, and more. Knowing which terms to use for other people also helps you feel confident and comfortable talking with absolutely anyone you meet, whether in the breakroom, boardroom, or your life outside of work.
The world is becoming more diverse, and the best terms to use for other people are always evolving. Staying tuned in to inclusive language will help you navigate the social climate as it shifts, no matter how it shifts, so you know you won’t unintentionally offend someone or give an inaccurate impression of who you are and what you believe.
Of course, there are best practices and core guidelines for inclusive language that stretch across all industries and organizations. The Diversity Movement’s new book, The Inclusive Language Handbook: A Guide to Better Communication and Transformational Leadership, co-authored by Jackie Ferguson and Roxanne Bellamy, explains the foundational rules you should follow when you aren’t sure what to say. But also, each industry has its own rules and standards. Here are a few best practices for navigating inclusive language in manufacturing.