Marks & Spencer is giving staff across its UK stores and offices the option to have their pronouns included on their name badges.
The retail giant confirmed the news in a LinkedIn post in October, explaining that it is working towards “an inclusive future” after being given the idea by an employee.
“Recently, we introduced pronoun name badges for our colleagues, encouraging as many of them as possible to wear whichever combination of pronouns is right for them,” the post said. “An amazing initiative provided by one of our colleagues Morgen Kane to our Suggest the Steve programme, as we continue to build an inclusive future, together.”
The post from M&S was written in response to David Parke, Food PR Manager, sharing his delight at the change in celebration of International Pronouns Day on 20 October.
His post read: “Happy #InternationalPronounsDay! I’m so grateful that Marks and Spencer actively encourages us to share our pronouns at work, whether on our name badges or in our email signatures.
“We introduced these new badges a few months ago (a brilliant idea from a colleague that was then implemented by Cleo Thompson and our LGBTQ+ Network) and they’ve already helped start some very necessary conversations around gender identity and non-binary experiences!”
Speaking to ITV, Parke added that the move is “really important” to show allyship with transgender and non-binary colleagues.
He said: “Giving people the option to display their pronouns at work is really important as it encourages them to show allyship towards trans and non-binary colleagues.
“Many of us already include our pronouns in our email signatures, but when you’re talking to people in person it’s useful to know how they want to be referred to in order to help everyone feel comfortable and avoid any misgendering.”
Sasha Misra, associate director of communications and campaigns at Stonewall, praised the change.
“It’s great to see an increasing number of businesses offering the option of badges with pronouns for staff,” Misra said.
“Creating an inclusive workplace starts with everyday actions, and having pronouns on badges is a simple yet impactful way to make sure LGBTQ+ identities are respected – for employees and customers alike.”