Create a more inclusive environment with ‘#MyNameIs’

Aine Connellan our consultant managing the role
My name is campaign

Why do our names matter? They don't just serve the purpose of identifying us. A person's name is carefully chosen by their parents to signify their individuality, heritage, culture, and often, they have a deeper meaning. Having an Irish name myself, I understand the difficulty of having a name that’s spelled very differently to how it’s pronounced!

Ruchika Tulshyan is an award-winning inclusion strategist and author of 'The Diversity Advantage: Fixing Gender Inequality In The Workplace'. Having had her Singaporean name mispronounced her whole life, she set out to find whether her non-Western name has held her back professionally. Ruchika found that her hard-to-pronounce name was the reason she didn't receive a call back from one hiring manager and encountered stories from other professionals who have missed out on opportunities because their names aren't recognisable.

It’s examples like this that prove how the #MyNameIs’ campaign can support a robust diversity and inclusion strategy in your organisation.


Ruchika found that her hard-to-pronounce name was the reason she didn't receive a call back from one hiring manager and encountered stories from other professionals who have missed out on opportunities because their names aren't recognisable".


What is the ‘#MyNameIs’ campaign?

The Race Equality Network recently launched an initiative called #MyNameIs. The objective of the initiative is to promote inclusivity by highlighting individuality. Our names represent who we are and where we come from. Pronouncing other people’s names correctly is a mark of respect and inclusion. That's why the Race Equality Network is calling on all organisations to add phonetic spelling to their email signatures.

Why does getting people's names right matter?

Repeatedly pronouncing someone's name wrong sends the message that their name isn't important and is a microaggression. It leads many people to take on a nickname or, in actress Uzo Aduba's case, consider changing her name. When asked if she'd considered changing her Nigerian name, she quoted her mum, who said, "If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky, Michelangelo and Dostoyevsky, they can learn to say Uzoamaka.” That message has stuck with her throughout her life, and has taught her to embrace her name, which means "The road is good."

A recent poll found that 73% of people have their names mispronounced, and this leads them to feel 'not valued or important', 'disrespected', and 'that they didn't belong'. That means almost three in four people are negatively impacted when someone doesn't get their name right. If you can show a person that you're making a conscious effort to remember their name and pronounce it properly, this can go a long way in ensuring they know they matter, making your talent strategy more inclusive in the process.

How you can support the initiative to pronounce people's names correctly?

  •  Take the time to ask a person how their name is pronounced, and actively listen

Kamala Harris, the first female, black and Asian American to serve as US vice-president, has repeatedly made a point of correcting mispronunciations in public, signally that there is no excuse for getting it wrong. If you come across a name that you don't recognise, first ask the person to carefully enunciate, and make sure you actively listen. 

  •  Get a phonetical spelling

If you're still struggling to pronounce someone's name or remember how to pronounce it, request a phonetical spelling. It's okay to ask someone more than once, what matters is that you make a conscious effort to get it right.

  •  Ask if you're saying it correctly

Hiring managers and employers can foster a culture of inclusion by checking with candidates whether they're pronouncing their name right. This gives candidates a chance to correct you, and will develop trust and rapport in the process.

  •  Add phonetic spelling for your own name

Join the movement to support the correct pronunciation of names. LinkedIn have released a feature where you can record and display your name pronunciation. The #MyNameIs guide explains how to write your name phonetically, which can then be used on your CV, or in your email signature, helping to educate others.

About Race Equality Week

Race Equality Matters is a not for profit community interest company formed following the Black Lives Matter Movement and founded by Green Park and The Collaboratory. Being champions for diversity, the Race Equality Network hosts an annual UK-wide Race Equality Week, which aims to bring people together and highlight race inequality. Over 2,000 organisations took part in 2021, and the network is hoping to double that figure this year.

 This year, this theme is #ActionNotJustWords, and there are three ways you can get involved

We can help you reach your diversity and inclusion aspirations

Making the effort to pronounce an interviewee’s name correctly is imperative to your talent attraction and onboarding strategy. Saying someone's name correctly is a sign of courtesy. You're showing them that you care whether they feel accepted, comfortable, included, and that they belong.

At Marks Sattin, we recognise and advocate that a diverse workforce contributes positively to a company’s success and growth. Find out more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion, and on our ability to target and engage a wide and diverse talent network on behalf of our clients, so that we can support professionals in minority groups. Alternatively, submit a brief, and one of our consultants will be in touch to discuss your recruitment needs.

 


09/02/22
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