Everyone has biased thoughts or ideas, but the important thing is to recognize those biases and work to overcome them. One of the ways employers can combat their biases and biases in the workplace is to create a more inclusive work environment. Creating an inclusive work environment begins long before an employee walks through the door. It begins at the very start of the hiring process. Let’s take a look at how to write more inclusive job descriptions to help you attract more applicants to your job listing and create a work environment based on acceptance.
Eliminate Gender Bias and Gender-Coding
Gender coding is the use of words and phrases that we have historically associated with the terms male and female. Using gender-coded language can give the impression that you desire a particular gender to fill a position. Gender-coded words that lean toward the masculine include aggressive, competitive, decisive, confident, risk-taking, or problem-solving. On the other hand, gender-coded words that lean toward the feminine would be loyal, responsible, interpersonal, compassionate, or nurturing.
Avoid Ageist Language
Ageism is the biased or unfair treatment of someone based on their age, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) forbids age discrimination against people over forty. In this age of technology, many employers are looking for employees well-versed in how to use certain tech and apps. However, some workers were born far before this technology came into the workplace. Using phrases such as “digital native” can turn away older workers who are still qualified and experienced. Other phrases that call for recent graduates or include words like young, energetic, or youthful may turn away older workers.
Remove Ableist Verbiage
Ableism is prejudicial treatment against disabled people and the favorable treatment of able-bodied people. Unfortunately, disability discrimination is one of the most common types of workplace discrimination because ableist practices and language are still widely accepted. Some of the oldest job description phrases you’ll see in job listings to this very day explicitly exclude people with disabilities. For example, “looking for able-bodied individuals,” “must be able to lift 50 pounds,” or “must be able to stand throughout shift” are all ableist phrases.
Steer Clear of Racial Bias
Some people may think of racial slurs or epithets when they think of racist language or language that perpetuates racial bias. However, ensuring that the language we use eliminates racial bias goes far beyond the simple act of excluding these words. You must avoid using phrases like “strong English-language skills,” “hard-working American,” or any other language that may exclude workers who weren’t born here or whose native language may be different. It’s also important to ask everyone the same set of questions, regardless of skin color, race, or national origin.
The best way to write more inclusive job descriptions is to focus solely on the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of the position. Doing so allows you to avoid focusing on desired personality traits and mitigate the risk of unintentionally including biases.