<aside> 🎯 Open up the conversation around diversity and inclusion and ensure that everyone can take part in these discussions and feel confident about the right words to use.


🤔 Why is this important?

Fostering an inclusive work environment requires a holistic programme. That includes focusing on the small, everyday behaviours of all team members, and the language we use is key to this.


What people say and how they say it can either forge bonds or create divisions between coworkers.

Worries about using the right words can make it hard to have open and constructive conversations about diversity and inclusion. Members of traditional majority groups especially may refrain from talking about sexual orientation, gender, or race because they are afraid of saying the wrong thing.

<aside> 🎓 The fear of 'saying the wrong thing' can hurt group creativity. Research shows that when men and women are brainstorming together, a lack of clear language norms makes it difficult for optimal collaboration to take place.


Empower everyone to enter the conversation comfortably with a glossary of useful terms for conversations around D&I. It will help employees to navigate an increasingly diverse workplace, and ensure no one feels excluded in their everyday interactions.

🚀 How to get started

Step 1: Identify words to define

⏳ Effort: 1 hour

<aside> 💡 Owner: People Team or D&I committee

One-off action: Agree on a list of terms that should be included in your glossary.


Collaborate as a team to come up with a list of terms that require an inclusive definition. Working collaboratively will help you fill in blind spots and come up with a more comprehensive list.

  1. Identify words commonly used in team discussions. Start with a short list of clearly defined concepts.

  2. Review definitions from a range of glossaries and lexicons and add them to your list. We encourage you to search broadly for definitions that resonate with you. It is important that the glossary feels relevant to your organisation.

    Below, we've collected glossaries and lexicons that offer definitions for terms around race and gender (see especially the Gender equality lexicon for accessible definitions).

Step 2: Introduce the glossary to the team

⏳ Effort: 1 hour

<aside> 💡 Owner: People Team or D&I committee

One-off action: Present the glossary to your team in an all-hands meeting, and ask for their input.


Creating a D&I glossary for your organisation should be an inclusive experience for all.

  1. Introduce the draft to your team as a shared document and invite suggestions. It may be difficult for people to speak up about sensitive terms in public, so we recommend you ask people to submit comments to you within 5 days.
  2. Schedule an all-hands meeting to open up the discussion and invite reflections from the whole team.
  3. Following the meeting, review the suggestions and questions in your working group (e.g. D&I committee) to create a final version.