Make your workplace more inclusive by taking time to learn new names

What’s in a name?

Names contain culture, heritage, identity. The smallest difference in pronunciation can entirely change the meaning of a name - which is why it’s so important to say them right!

People’s names have so much significance—from their ancestors, families, religions. They have such connection and bearing on their identity.
Rita Kohli, associate professor and equity advisor at the University of California, Riverside. [^1]

What does this have to do with a company?

Research shows we work best when we feel comfortable and respected. Microaggressions and when an ethnically or racially distinct name is continually and purposefully mispronounced, it can become a source of workplace stress, which can lead to burnout, health implications, and stalled career growth. But on the flip side - if teams become a welcoming respite from this, we’ll all feel empowered and able to do our best work.

”When people feel that they need to compromise their identities for social acceptance, their emotional well-being inevitably suffers. Simply put, anglicizing names undermines inclusivity.”

  • Rajat Panwar, Harvard Business Review.

Learning names builds team morale and loyalty

Can you remember that time a barista remembered your name? People love their own name. We hear them all the time! Properly saying someone’s name fosters a team’s sense of belonging. Being a good ally means we should learn names and cultures to make people feel welcome.

”It indeed helped my friends to know if they were improving, and gave them a tool to practice before we meet. I knew they cared, they just needed a nudge to get better. Also, it triggered a sense of competition between them: “who says “João” better?”. And from time to time it became a great party, and even a drinking game!”

  • João, Co-founder of SayMyName

Try it in your team today!