The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in August updated its website to provide guidance to employers on how they can report workers as nonbinary, Think Progress reports. Prior to that change, companies had no way to record their non-binary staff in what are called EEO-1 reports. “Employers wanted to know how to provide accurate data to the EEOC, so the EEOC said that’s fine,” says Harper Jean Tobin, director of policy at the National Center for Transgender Equality.
Tobin notes that for employees “who are nonbinary, you can use the narrative comment section on the form, like you could for anything else that doesn’t fit into the boxes they give you to report a number of nonbinary employees.”
In July, one of the country’s biggest law firms, Baker McKenzie, announced that it would seek to have its staff comprise 40% women and 40% men as well as 20% “flexible,” or employees who could identify as women, men or non-binary, by 2025, The Washington Post reports. Larger companies have started enacting some small changes to better acknowledge their non-binary employees. These include incorporating gender-neutral language in communications, training their customer service workers to ask customers about their preferred pronouns and revising dress codes or revamping restrooms to be welcoming to all genders.
Financial services giant, TIAA, in May released new gender-identity awareness guidelines for employees who engage personally with customers, Quartz reports. “Never assume someone’s gender identity,” and “be aware that a person’s pronouns can change over time,” the guidance reads. “They may also change based on context.” That guidance goes as far as informing employees to “create the space for gender inclusion by asking for a client’s preferred name and pronouns and/or by sharing yours (‘Hello, my name is Jane and my pronouns are she/her. It’s very nice to meet you.’)”
Streaming service, Netflix, has its recruiters ask potential hires about their preferred pronoun, The Washington Post reports. IBM considers itself a leader on this issue, Maria Menendez, a technical executive for IBM Cloud and the local head of IBM’s LGBTQ resource group, tells the Chicago Tribune. IBM recently developed a system for its employees to log their pronoun preference on HR forms and in the company directory. “This is so important for people who are working at and joining IBM,” Menendez says. “I want them to know that from day one this is a safe and welcoming environment where they can bring their whole self.”
A 2017 Harris Poll revealed that about 3% of the population between ages 18 and 35 identify as gender neutral, and that is expected to grow as the younger generation is more willing to embrace a wider gender bandwidth, the Chicago Tribune reports. A Pew Research Center poll found that 35% of Generation Z said they personally knew someone in 2018 who identifies with a gender neutral pronoun. Millennials were next at 25%
Accenture’s chief leadership and HR officer Ellyn Shook says that after watching a webcast, she decided to revamp her approach with new-hire orientations, The Washington Post reports. She now starts these orientations by introducing herself by her name, where she attended school and that she uses “she/her.”
“When you’re in a war for talent, you need to be committed to helping people both professionally and personally,” Shook says. “It’s incumbent on me and my colleagues to make sure every single person feels like they belong.”