Working in the relocation industry provides a fascinating look into various cultures and countries, providing an opportunity to collaborate with people from all over the globe. We are fortunate to be constantly educated on various topics from immigration to shipping laws to cultural faux pas in business meetings.
Diversity is at the epicenter of our daily lives in relocation; it is what makes this industry unique and fulfilling. Topics of diversity in the workplace have begun to shift as demographics change. We often see companies and employees ensuring that proper gender pronouns are used, making the exchange or experience a comfortable one for both parties. As the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) explains it, every person deserves the basic dignity and courtesy of being referred to by their correct pronouns (she, her, hers; he, him, his; they, them, theirs – to name a few).
The HRC goes on to say, “Nothing may be more personal than the way in which people refer to us through our name and pronouns. Using a person’s chosen name and desired pronouns is a form of mutual respect and basic courtesy. Everyone deserves to have their self-ascribed name and pronouns respected in the workplace ... the experience of being misgendered can be hurtful, angering, and even distracting.”
Many people identify as cisgender (i.e., male or female) from birth. Others do not, and some do not identify with either gender (non-binary). For some, this can be a difficult concept to grasp, but one that is rapidly shaping the workplace landscape. Gender assumptions are made from birth – boy babies are dressed in blue, while girls are swaddled in pink; there are countless cultural and social norms like this that can be difficult to unlearn. We see someone who looks or dresses a particular way and assign a gender to them. Because of these societal norms and the difficulty in navigating them, people may choose to clarify their pronouns in an email signature, on a name tag, etc. These cues are intended to help us to be more conscious and intentional regarding our decisions and assumptions.
This level of care and attention to how we communicate is critical in the workplace. People who feel respected and welcome will collaborate and engage. It’s polite to ask people how they’d like to be addressed and it is important to never to make assumptions. Have an open mind, listen for cues, accept that you will make mistakes, and offer genuine apologies when you do. Your personal pronouns may never come into question in your life, but for others, it is an ongoing struggle. Taking the time to listen and care about someone’s personal pronouns will promote a stronger professional relationship. Remember, our diversity is what makes us all unique, talented, and enriched contributors to society and to the workplace.
About the authors
Kamryn Bohn, CRP, GMS-T, is the director of client service managers at Aires. She has also been working in the Denver, Colorado community as an advocate for Gender Pronouns, Transgender Awareness, and Gender Fluidity for 15 years.
Lauren McKenna is a proposal writer at Aires. She has previously written for LGBTQ+ publications in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is a member and advocate of this community.