Published: Jan. 11, 2021

Nothing may be more personal than how people refer to us. Using a person’s chosen name and desired pronouns is a form of mutual respect and basic courtesy. Everyone deserves to have their self-ascribed name and pronouns respected in the workplace. And it’s up to us to create a safe space for everyone who is comfortable displaying those pronouns. (Of course, this is a personal choice, and no one is required to share their pronouns.) Below are 5 easy ways to help create that safe space:

Designate your pronouns in your email signature

For many of us, email is our primary point of contact. And with that, it’s helpful for others to know our pronouns and how we want to be addressed.

Video instructions for different platforms can be found below:

Web-based Outlook 365 - Video

Windows-based Outlook software - Video

Mac-based Outlook software - Video

Make Zoom meetings more inclusive

Even before COVID, Zoom meetings were increasing in popularity. And to ensure there is no confusion about how attendees wish to be referred to, there are two easy steps you can take.

Update your Zoom name with your pronouns

Update 7/2/2021 - Zoom has released new guidance on how to add pronouns to your profile

Simply visit and once logged in, select “Edit” next to your profile.

Zoom Profile Example

If introductions take place, introduce yourself with your pronouns. It’s as simple as, “Hi, I’m Vanessa Luna. My pronouns are she/her/hers and I am a Staff Council representative”

Ask faculty if their syllabus is up to date

Academic Affairs recently released updated syllabus statements, which can be found at It includes an updated statement about pronouns.

You can also encourage your faculty to include their pronouns in their syllabus under their name. (However, please remember that this is not required, and some may not be comfortable sharing their pronouns.)

Encourage pronoun usage during onboarding

If you are an HR manager or supervisor, during onboarding a new employee you can ask if the employee has pronouns they would like to share. An example may be “If you have pronouns you would like to share, please let me know.”

When in doubt, use “they”

It is never safe to assume someone’s gender. Living a life where people will naturally assume your correct pronouns is a privilege that not everyone experiences.
If someone tells you their pronouns, use those. But if you don’t know their pronouns, use gender neutral ones, like “they”. It takes some practice, but in the end you will be helping create a more inclusive environment for all.

For more information about pronouns, you can visit the Center for Inclusion and Social Change website. They even offer a pronouns guide.