DDMinnesotans are known for being nice. Often, we wear the label of “Minnesota nice” as a badge of honor–a show of politeness and respect. This attitude of being nice and respectful to everyone can certainly extend into the workplace.
As such, business owners are increasingly interested in making their workplaces more inclusive. This can be wise, considering the fact that employees are more diverse than ever. For instance, you may already have a policy in place to reflect the needs and rights of people of varying religions. But do you have policies regarding employeeswho identify as gender nonbinary?
Understanding the need
Estimates suggest that about 3 percent of people ages 18-35 openly identify as something other than male or female, i.e. “gender neutral.” These employees can face some challenges in traditional workplaces.
The challenges include not feeling comfortable using the restroom and determining how to share preferred pronouns with clients and colleagues.
Tips for a more inclusive workplace
There are some relatively simple ways that businesses can adjust their policies and culture to reflect the needs of gender-nonconforming employees and the challenges they face. This article from NPR includes some suggestions, such as:
- Loosening dress codes to be less traditionally male and female
- Adopting policies prohibiting discrimination against someone based on gender identity (which is a protected class under Minnesota law)
- Allowing and encouraging employees to include preferred pronouns on business cards or in email signatures
- Providing gender-neutral restrooms
- Removing or expanding the gender options on employment forms
These changes aren’t difficult, particularly considering the considerable positive impact they can have on both the employees who directly benefit, as well as other employees who will witness their employer’s strides toward inclusivity.
Overall, making changes to your workplace to be more inclusive can be a judicious decision. Not only can it help employers avoid allegations of discrimination and costly legal disputes, it can also allow employees to feel more at ease at work and be more productive. And that is “nice” for everyone.