How to Use Inclusive Language in Your Small Business

Meredith Wood

Meredith Wood

Editor-in-Chief at Fundera
Meredith Wood is the editor-in-chief at Fundera. She has specialized in financial advice for small business owners for almost a decade, and is sought out frequently for her expertise in small business lending. Meredith’s advice has appeared in the SBA, SCORE, Yahoo!, Amex OPEN Forum, Fox Business, American Banker, Small Business Trends, and more.
Meredith Wood

As a small business owner, have you ever thought about how inclusive your workplace is? Although it can be hard to measure, cultivating an inclusive workplace is a proven way to increase your business’s profitability and performance. According to a study by McKinsey, racially and ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to financially outperform homogeneous ones.

So how exactly do you make your workplace more welcoming to employees of different backgrounds? One method is to prioritize using inclusive language. By avoiding the use of phrases or terms that isolate and exclude employees that fall into a particular demographic group, you create a more positive, inclusive work environment.

However, implementing the change can be tough. While hiring a diverse roster of employees is a great first step, it’s not enough. Top-level management and executives must first embody the change themselves, and this can take time. The way we communicate is a result of our upbringing and social environment. To change something so innate takes time, effort, and diligence.

That’s why it’s important to establish a culture that is both inclusive and considerate. At some point, you may inevitably say something that excludes someone else. While this is to be expected, mistakes should be viewed as learning opportunities rather than moments of tension. In this way, improvements can be made.

Once you’ve made the commitment to create an inclusive workplace, you need to see the change through. Connect with employees and encourage them to interact with members from other departments and backgrounds, or host company social events, such as team lunches, and give your employees time off to volunteer for good causes they support.

In addition to providing opportunities for inclusion, you could also write up a company mission statement that explicitly states your commitment to champion inclusion and diversity in the workplace. By casting the vision and leading by example on a daily basis, your employees will begin to embody the change themselves.

To learn more about inclusive language and how you can implement it in your workplace, check out our infographic below:

Sources: Josh Bersin | McKinsey | Deloitte

Editorial Note: Fundera exists to help you make better business decisions. That’s why we make sure our editorial integrity isn’t influenced by our own business. The opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations in this article are those of our editorial team alone. They haven’t been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the companies mentioned above. Learn more about our editorial process and how we make money here.
Meredith Wood

Meredith Wood

Editor-in-Chief at Fundera
Meredith Wood is the editor-in-chief at Fundera. She has specialized in financial advice for small business owners for almost a decade, and is sought out frequently for her expertise in small business lending. Meredith’s advice has appeared in the SBA, SCORE, Yahoo!, Amex OPEN Forum, Fox Business, American Banker, Small Business Trends, and more.
Meredith Wood

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