Why HR Shouldn’t Ask for ‘Preferred’ Pronouns

For several years, there has been a concerted effort towards inclusivity in the workplace. To this end, employers provide opportunities for staff to share their pronouns. HR often asks employees as well as applicants for preferred pronouns. Although well-intentioned, employers may be inadvertently doing something that actively works against the goal of inclusiveness. This article explains that “using the modifier ‘preferred’ indicates that there’s a choice or preference and fails to affirm the person.” As a best practice, the article suggests that employers create opportunities for employees and applicants to share their pronouns but be careful not to require this information of individuals. The article also offers several helpful suggestions as best practices that employers should consider —such as legal compliance— in attempts at inclusivity.