User Stories: how Gryphon Investors created a more inclusive workplace by pronouncing names right.
In 2022, inclusive workplaces are more important than ever.
In a study conducted only five years ago, 80 percent of over 1,300 respondents said inclusion is an important consideration when choosing an employer.
Five years later, with remote work completely shattering our model of what the workplace looks and feels like, ensuring your colleagues are engaged and included is more necessary than ever.
With employee retention, talent shortages and the so-called “Great Resignation” all making headlines in the past year, employers are finding themselves in a fierce competition to not only find, but keep, talent in their teams. Additionally, with remote work becoming normalized, employers have access to more diverse talent markets, and might find themselves hiring people from different backgrounds, countries and continents.
And this wouldn’t be a NameShouts Blog Post if we didn’t mention that those diverse employees are likely going to have a diverse set of names.
That’s right – name pronunciation will continue to be a critical component of the employee onboarding experience, now more than ever. And forward-thinking companies are moving quickly to discover how they might be able to make their diverse and talented groups of employees feel at home in their new jobs, because they know that can give them a competitive edge.
We got the chance to speak with one such company, Gryphon Investors – a leading middle-market private equity firm based in San Francisco, that recently completed a successful project with NameShouts as part of their ongoing DEI work. Zach Moore, Executive Assistant at Gryphon, and the firm’s intranet administrator, walked us through their NameShouts journey.
Why is pronouncing names correctly important to you?
It’s important to me personally because, once upon a time, “Zachary” was an unusual name here in the U.S. – as a youngster in school my teachers and fellow students would have trouble, not so much with the pronunciation, but with its spelling. My name was even misspelled on my birth certificate if you can believe it!
The shortened version of my name is spelled “Zach” and people still make the common mistake of referring to me as “Zack”, “Zac” or “Zak” in email conversations (even though the correct spelling is plainly visible in my email display name and auto-signature) which is something I always notice.
It seems like a small thing but making the effort to both spell and pronounce someone’s name correctly is important to me because it shows respect. I place a really high value on mutual respect in both my personal and professional relationships.
"NameShouts not only helped us meet that goal by providing accurate, phonetic respellings, but exceeded it by also including audio pronunciations. NameShouts was the only tool I was able to find on the Internet that made it quick and easy to provide both."
How does this matter to your work? Is there a cost associated with mispronouncing a name?
Absolutely! I think Cara Hutto said it best in her wonderful blog post on this topic where she shared that “pronouncing someone’s name correctly can make them feel respected, valued, and seen. Not only is it a major sign of respect, but it’s also the first step in creating an inclusive workplace."
If we’re to believe what Hutto writes, and I certainly do, the cost of repeatedly mispronouncing someone’s name can be absolutely huge and potentially create a culture where people don’t feel valued or respected – or, in other words, they may not feel like they belong. Without a sense of belonging, the seeds of workplace inclusivity won’t take root. Who wants to work in an environment like that? Not many people, would be my guess. I certainly wouldn’t.
How has NameShouts helped you?
When we first started thinking about how to leverage Gryphon’s intranet to help our employees pronounce one another’s names correctly, the initial goal was to provide a phonetic respelling of each employee name on the site’s employee directory. NameShouts not only helped us meet that goal by providing accurate, phonetic respellings, but exceeded it by also including audio pronunciations (we hadn’t envisioned an audio solution initially). NameShouts was the only tool I was able to find on the Internet that made it quick and easy to provide both.
And to top it all off, the NameShouts team was incredibly enthusiastic about working with Gryphon on this project. They really went above and beyond to help the implementation go smoothly. It has been a wonderful experience all the way around. I couldn’t be more grateful to have found NameShouts.
How have things been at Gryphon since you implemented NameShouts?
The implementation of NameShouts at Gryphon has been met with great enthusiasm and appreciation, and I am very proud to have played a role in it. Since the implementation I’ve spoken with several employees with less common names or more unusual name spellings who had accepted long ago that their names might not always be pronounced correctly – or in my case spelled correctly! – in the workplace, and they are genuinely appreciative of our efforts to encourage inclusivity from the start by making sure that their fellow employees have the tools at hand to pronounce their names correctly at Gryphon.
Sometimes all it takes is pronouncing a name right to set the tone for a new hire. Teams based on inclusion and mutual respect are better equipped for success.
We’ve been happy to help our friends at Gryphon Investors pronounce names right.
If you’re interested in setting up NameShouts for your organization, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.