We know not everyone identifies with the pronouns they’re given in early life. But this sometimes causes confusion when it comes to addressing new people and can even be upsetting for some.
It’s helpful to understand other people’s preferred pronouns so we can build respectful relationships – especially with our colleagues and clients.
A simple way to do this is by encouraging teams to add their preferred pronouns in their email signatures. It’s a small gesture but goes a long way for those experiencing misuse of their pronouns.
Here, we’ll look at why it’s important to include gender pronouns in email signatures, how to introduce the idea to your team, and the most effective way to roll out custom email signatures across your business.
What are gender pronouns?
Our preferred gender pronouns are the words we wish to be referred to by when spoken about in the third person.
For example, those who identify as male typically prefer ‘he’ and ‘him’. People identifying as female often prefer ‘she’ and ‘her’, while those who don’t identify as either may prefer ‘they’ and ‘them’.
It’s often courteous to ask someone their preferred pronouns before addressing them.
Why should you include gender pronouns in email signatures?
We often speak with people we’ve never met via email – especially at work. And we tend to make gender assumptions when we refer to each other.
For example, we may – with good intentions – refer to another person in an email chain with ‘he’ll have the report over tomorrow’. We mean no offence, but the reality for the recipient can be quite distressing if their preferred pronouns are misused.
One way we can avoid this happening is by encouraging employees to include their preferred pronouns in their email signature. It’s a simple and non-intrusive way of highlighting to others how they’d like to be referenced.
It’s not just for those who’ve experienced pronoun misuse though. Encouraging company-wide adoption of gender pronouns in email signatures shows the business is supportive and inclusive of all its people and those it works with.
Examples of commonly preferred gender pronouns
Below is a list of gender pronouns that are likely to be common among your team and you may wish to include in your email signature templates:
This isn’t a comprehensive list however, and individuals in your team may identify with different pronouns. So, it’s important to ask for their input before rolling out custom email signatures.
Starting the conversation
Some of your team may already include their preferred gender pronouns in their email signature. But spreading the message to the whole team encourages more widespread adoption.
Even those who haven’t experienced misgendering can support others by adding their preferred pronouns to their email signature. It’s a show of support for those who have and normalizes the idea that we risk upsetting our friends and colleagues by simply assuming their gender identity.
Let your team know it isn’t compulsory but explain it can be a positive sign of unity with their friends and colleagues. And that if they want to opt-in, the business can make it simple for them to update their signature.
If you’re using an email signature management solution, consider sending a survey out to the team, in which they can select their preferred gender pronouns and whether they’d like to opt-in or out of adding them to their email signature.
How to use gender pronouns in an email signature
Adding preferred gender pronouns to an email signature is simple. The chosen pronoun set often sits alongside the other contact information you typically include like name and job title.
Senders usually include examples of their preferred gender pronouns – like ‘he/him’, or ‘she/her/hers’ – and this usually appears next to, or underneath, their name.
This may look something like this:
John Doe (he/him)
+44 (0)1252 531422
+44 (0)1252 531422
Adding gender pronouns to email signatures
Exclaimer’s email signature management solutions makes it effortless to include gender pronouns in your company’s email signatures.
Manage email signatures centrally on Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), and Microsoft Exchange, and then simply add preferred gender pronouns as required. All this while maintaining the professional formatting and design your business upholds in its internal and external communications.
Create a standard list of pronoun sets and potentially include a custom option too, which allows you to input unique sets as your team requires. Adding these new fields to the business’ existing email signature templates allows you to simply toggle pronouns on and off by individual preference.
Our intuitive and flexible email signature management solutions allow you to design and edit email signature templates with ease. So, you can add preferred gender pronouns easily alongside an employee’s name within their contact information.
Contact us today for more information on managing and customizing your company’s email signatures.