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Your employee handbook is an important resource for your company’s leadership and employees. Its objective is to establish and clarify organizational policies and explain how employees can succeed in your company. That said, to make everyone in the company feel included, you need to make sure you create an equitable employee handbook.
What is equity?
Before writing the handbook, you need to understand the concept of equity in the workplace. At a very high level, it means taking into account that not all employees have the same skill set and backgrounds — and therefore to create a level playing field by providing individuals with the means to develop themselves and thrive.
Assess your language for equity
One of the most important aspects of creating an equitable employee handbook is to use gender-inclusive language. A growing number of companies are using the gender-neutral pronoun “they” instead of “he” or “she” because it includes non-binary individuals. The United Nations offers helpful guidelines on using gender-inclusive language.
Assess your policies for equity
Exactly how you establish equitable policies will depend on your organization’s decision makers, but here are some tips to keep in mind:
It’s important to keep in mind that any type of favoritism in your employee handbook will undermine your efforts to create an equitable organizational culture. So think carefully about the language you use and the policies you establish, and be prepared to revise the handbook over time if organizational or societal developments demand it.