Three Ways to Make Your Workplace More Welcoming for Non-Binary Employees
As a non-binary professional who is in the early stages of their career, Canvas software developer Kassian Eaton has found themselves having to navigate two fresh terrains—one as a professional who is new to the tech industry, and the other as someone who has recently begun openly embracing their identity. When these two parts of Kassian converged in the workplace, they developed a unique perspective on diversity and inclusion—as well as opinions on how organizations can be more welcoming to non-binary employees. In this week’s “Untapped” podcast, Kassian shares their opinions on this topic with host Tariq Meyers, and provides the following suggestions.
3 Ways To Make Your Organization More Inclusive for Non-Binary Employees
Set Up Inclusion Policies Early
Companies don’t need to actually have a non-binary employee on staff yet to have workplace policies that will help them feel comfortable so they can easily integrate into the culture.
“I think setting up your environment before a trans person walks in the door is pretty vital. Have policies in place for when someone transitions on the job, and to educate people on what is an appropriate conversation and what is not an appropriate conversation to have about someone's personal medical history,” Kassian said. “Set all of that up before someone walks in the door and have everyone who works there also set up for success, because I know that is not always the case.”
One of the policies that can help a workplace become more inclusive for non-binary employees is to address deadnaming, which is the practice of referring to someone by the name they used before they transitioned. Kassian says having a policy about deadnaming can help reduce confusion among colleagues, while keeping information about a non-binary employee’s past private if they don’t wish to disclose that part of themselves at work.
“Having a process in place where it can be one hour and all of your HR system is changed is really nice, because you could come out one day and a new person joins the company the next day. There's no reason for them to know your old name, but if it's hanging around your systems for months and months, that is not a good experience,” explained Kassian. “And I know; although I personally never had my deadname show up to anyone else in the workplace, at a previous job, it was popping up in my benefits and healthcare even after I had legally changed my name in the state of California.”
In order to be a fully inclusive workplace, it’s important to give all employees the respect they deserve when it comes to their pronouns—no matter what their gender identity is. Kassian says when workplaces don’t do this, it makes for an unpleasant environment.
“For me personally, someone using the wrong pronouns definitely feels like they’re not seeing my experience or identity, they're just disregarding it,” said Kassian. “But for people who might do it accidentally, it's pretty easy to just correct yourself and the next time it comes up, be very intentional about respecting someone's pronouns and identity.”
To find out more about Kassian’s opinions and experiences as a non-binary employee in tech, listen to this week’s “Untapped” podcast, where Canvas’s Chief People Officer, Tariq Meyers, has discussions about ways to tap into great diverse talent.