Why Your Email Signature Should Include Pronouns (and how to add them with Exclaimer)

Based in Victoria, British Columbia, Regroove is a cloud-based company that specializes in helping businesses improve processes and productivity in the cloud. We are very focused as an organization on making our team members and our clients feel safe and included, and we have been talking a lot about ways to improve on that as an organization.

We conducted a staff survey to ask if they would like to have pronouns added to their email signatures. Our email signatures are created and automatically applied using Exclaimer, so employees don’t need to create or modify signatures on their own. It helps to ensure consistency across all our signatures and makes it easy to update them company-wide at certain times of the year (shoot us an email in December to see our Santa hat signatures!). The response from our staff was an overwhelming “yes”, so we began to discuss the best way to do this automatically using Exclaimer.

What Do We Mean By “Pronouns”?

Grammatically speaking, pronouns are words that you can substitute for another noun, or for a person’s name. When we’re talking about email signatures, the pronoun is used in place of a person’s name. These are known as personal pronouns.

Why You Should Add Pronouns to Your Email Signature

There are a number of important reasons for adding pronouns to email signatures and visible client messaging, including:

  • Ensuring that we (or our clients) are not misgendering anyone
  • Demonstrating to our peers and clients that we are making an effort to be welcoming and inclusive
  • Opening up the conversation about gender pronouns and their importance

A lot of our staff were already manually adding pronouns to their signatures via Outlook settings and had a number of comments asking the purpose of including them, which created great dialogue with our clients and our team.

For cisgender individuals (someone who identifies with the sex they were assigned at birth), a pronoun may seem trivial. However, for transgender and non-binary individuals, listing pronouns is really important. This means they are referred to by the correct pronoun from the beginning of the conversation.

Including pronouns in your signature also helps to prevent misgendering an individual with a unisex name, such as “Jamie”. In a world where conversations are increasingly virtual, we’ve seen firsthand the benefit of being able to apply proper pronouns from the beginning of a conversation.

Adding pronouns to your email normalizes gender pronouns. It helps coworkers feel more comfortable in your workplace and ensures clients are informed. In communications outside your organization, including pronouns in your signature is a simple and successful way to demonstrate being a welcoming and inclusive company. Whether people are applying to work with you, you’re pitching for new clients, or you’re simply looking for a new service, pronoun signatures put you in the best form for communication.

Adding Pronouns to Signatures Using Exclaimer

There are a number of different ways you can add signatures for your organization in Outlook. A common method is creating a template that you apply to new hires in the Outlook signature setting when they begin working with the organization. However, the user is then required to make manual updates to the signature if their name, position, or contact information changes. This leaves open the possibility of making mistakes or unwanted changes to the signature design.

As mentioned, at Regroove we prefer to use a third-party solution that automatically applies signatures to our emails as they are sent. This ensures that signatures are consistent across the organization.

We selected Exclaimer as our preferred tool. Exclaimer works well with Microsoft 365 and allows us to pull information out of Azure AD to populate employee signatures. This ensures that when information is changed in Azure AD, the user’s signature is automatically adjusted at the same time.

To include pronouns in our signatures, we enabled the Azure AD custom attributes sync feature with Exclaimer. This allows us to use a custom attribute field in Azure to include pronouns for all of our staff. We then apply that field to the email signature so that their pronouns appear automatically. This also enabled us to leave the custom attribute field blank for team members who may not want their pronouns included in their signature; in this case, the field does not appear at all.

Conclusion

While there are a few different ways to add pronouns to your email signature, we highly recommend encouraging your staff to add them in a common and consistent way. Not only does this ensure that your team and your clients are correctly identifying your peers, but it promotes inclusivity and a welcoming environment at your organization.

Looking for assistance getting email signatures set up for your organization? Get in touch with us at regroove.ca!

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