Inclusive forms and paperwork are an important part of LGBTQ-affirming organizational culture. Not only will inclusive forms allow your organization to capture the most accurate information, but they also serve as “markers” for people exploring your organization. Forms, paperwork, and applications send strong messaging around who is welcome and counted in your culture.
In March of 2022, the EEOC announced that it will promote equity and inclusion for members of the LGBTQI+ community by giving individuals the option to select a non-binary “X” gender marker during the voluntary self-identification questions that are part of the intake process for filing a charge of discrimination.
When creating/updating forms, consider which questions have become a habit to include on paperwork when the information is actually irrelevant. Also think about which questions are required and which are optional.
Best practice when asking about gender is to have an open field for people to write in. Another good option is to have multiple checkboxes with the instruction, “check all that apply,” which includes a self-describe option. Do not offer only two options for gender.
Pronouns are the words used to describe a person in the third person. You can ask pronouns by providing checkboxes with multiple options, as well as a write-in option. You can also include a line explaining what pronouns are and why you are asking for this information. For example: “Please share your pronouns. Pronouns are the part of speech used to refer to someone in the third person. We want to know how to respectfully refer to you.”
The above suggestions are only useful if they can be implemented. If your systems do not allow you to have multiple checkboxes or a write-in answers or your organization has forms you cannot change, consider addressing this on your forms. For example, if your system only allows you three options for gender, you could include a short blurb with the question that says “we recognize that there are many more gender identities than can be listed here. Currently, our database system only provides the options of ‘man,’ ‘woman,’ and ‘nonbinary/other.’ Please select the category that most closely aligns with your gender identity. If you have additional information to share, contact [email protected].
Successfully building an inclusive workplace goes beyond setting DEI goals and making public diversity statements. To truly operationalize inclusion, leaders need to incorporate actionable methods that encourage inclusion at every stage of the employee experience, from interviewing to offboarding.
Additional ASE Resources
ASE Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Resources – As Michigan's trusted HR partner, ASE empowers employers to promote an equitable workplace, which includes a diverse and inclusive company culture. ASE is committed to bringing our members diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) resources and tools to help their organizations formalize their strategy, policies, training, and approaches resulting in an effective DEI strategy.
Peer-to-Peer Discussion: Workplace Culture – How to Build an Inclusive Environment – Join your fellow ASE members for a Peer-to-Peer Discussion about building an inclusive environment. From the application to onboarding to offboarding you are always sending a message of who your organization welcomes and who counts in your culture. Successfully building an inclusive workplace goes beyond setting DEI goals. Come talk with your peers about what your organization is doing or is interested in learning more about. August 18, 2022; 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Register here.