Good Comms

How to audit for inclusive language

Conducting an inclusive language and communication audit is a critical step towards fostering social justice within an organization or community. This audit assesses the language and communication strategies used by an organization to ensure they are inclusive and accessible to all individuals, regardless of their background, identity, or abilities.

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Inclusive communication elevates voices, builds trust, enhances engagement, and ensures that you are complying with current standards. Moreover, a reputation for inclusivity can enhance an organization’s standing in the community and marketplace, attracting diverse talent and clients who prioritize social justice.

Structuring your audit

Conducting an inclusive language and communication audit is a structured process that helps ensure all organizational communications are sensitive and inclusive. This process can be broadly categorized into steps that are similar with any communication audit:

  • Define the scope and objectives. Firstly, clarify what the audit will cover. Will it include all communication channels such as emails, marketing materials, internal documents, and social media posts? Define the specific goals you want to achieve. For instance, are you focusing on gender neutrality, cultural inclusivity, accessibility for people with disabilities, or all of the above?
  • Gather the data. Collect samples from the different communication mediums covered by the audit. This may include digital content, print materials, video content, and any other relevant media. Ensure you have a representative sample that reflects various aspects of your communications.
  • Develop an evaluation framework. Create a checklist or set of criteria against which to measure the inclusivity of your communications. This framework should be based on best practices in inclusive language, specific regulatory requirements, and the unique needs of your stakeholders. Criteria might include the use of non-gendered language, the representation of diverse groups, the presence of accessible formats, and the avoidance of stereotypes.
  • Analyze the communications. Review the collected materials against your evaluation framework. Identify any language or content that might be exclusionary or offensive. Pay attention to subtleties in language that could inadvertently marginalize certain groups. This step might require the involvement of experts or consultants with deep understanding in areas like gender studies, cultural studies, or disability rights
  • Report findings. Compile the findings into a comprehensive report that highlights areas of strength and areas needing improvement. This report should not only list problems but also provide specific examples and suggest alternatives or improvements.
  • Develop an action plan. Based on the findings, develop an action plan to address the identified issues. This might include rewriting problematic content, training staff on inclusive language, revising content creation guidelines, and setting up ongoing review processes.
  • Implement changes. Begin implementing the changes as per your action plan. This could involve updating communication materials, conducting training sessions, and making structural changes to how content is created and reviewed.
  • Monitor and review. Finally, establish mechanisms to monitor the impact of the changes and ensure ongoing compliance with your inclusivity goals. Regularly revisit the audit process to adapt to new societal norms and internal organizational changes.

In other words

An inclusive language and communication audit is a thorough process that not only assesses and improves how an organization communicates but also aligns its operations with broader social justice principles. By embedding inclusivity into the heart of organizational practices, businesses can contribute significantly to a more equitable society.

It is not a one-time event but part of an ongoing process of improvement. It helps organizations to continually evolve their communications to meet changing societal norms and the needs of their diverse audience base. This commitment to ongoing development can drive sustainable change within the organization.

By deliberately examining and improving the ways we communicate, organizations can create environments where everyone has the opportunity to be understood, respected, and valued. This is essential for building a fairer, more equitable society.


  • Review existing materials. Regularly examine your organization’s communication materials for inclusive language and update them as needed.
  • Seek feedback. Engage with diverse groups within your organization or community to gain insights into how your communications could be more inclusive.
  • Educate and train. Provide training for your team on the importance of inclusive language and how to use it effectively.
  • Implement a monitoring system. Establish a system to continuously monitor and review the inclusivity of your communications.
  • Celebrate diversity. Make a conscious effort to highlight and celebrate diversity in your communications, showing real examples and stories that reflect this commitme

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