October 13, 2020

Sift Feature Updates: Name Pronunciation to Humanize Your Workforce

If your name’s not Bob or Mary, you’ve probably had a moment when someone mispronounces your name. Whether it was while you were picking up your coffee order or when you had a substitute teacher in school, it can happen anywhere. Even with a name that’s fairly easy to pronounce like Justine, I’ve gotten countless Justin’s, Christine’s, and Jasmine’s in my life.

For many individuals, especially people of color, without conventional English names, this is a common and almost daily occurrence. When people mispronounce your name it not only leads to an awkward moment of correcting who did it, but it can also feel exclusive and emotionally taxing if it happens again.

Why did we build Name Pronunciation?

What do you do when you don’t know how to pronounce someone’s name? Probably one of the following things:

  • Preface with: “I’ll probably botch this”, go for it and actually botch it
  • Ask how to pronounce the name and try your best
  • Don’t make the attempt at all and avoid saying the name altogether
  • Use “you” or a different pronoun in place of the name

And as a person whose name is mispronounced, what do you do? Probably one of the following things:

  • Never correct the person who made the mistake
  • Continue to repeatedly correct the person
  • Correct the person but still get your name mispronounced
  • Adopt a more culturally normative but completely different name to avoid the situation altogether i.e. Leixin to Lexie

In all these cases, the burden falls on the person with the name to adapt, explain, and correct. Not only is this emotionally taxing but it can take away from productivity at work and make connection to the rest of your team difficult.

This is where Name Pronunciation comes in.

Name Pronunciation adds a layer of humanity to employee profiles by allowing you to display exactly how to pronounce your name. Whether it’s a team member from an international office who you’ve never spoken to before, or a new team member who’s onboarding and you want to get their name right, consult their Sift Profile to learn that information.

This is a perfect capability for everyone, but especially for HR leaders who are constantly interfacing with team members across departments. Find out more about how people in these areas use Sift today.

So how do you use Name Pronunciation?

It’s pretty simple. Here are three steps:

  1. Go to your Sift Profile
  2. Click “Set Pronunciation”

  1. Record yourself saying your name
  2. Press save

For admins

  • You can turn off this feature if you don’t think it’s relevant (but we’d encourage you to keep it on!)

For individuals

  • You can leave the recording empty if you don’t feel the need

For both

  • You have 10 seconds to record your name
  • You can go to anyone’s Profile and listen to the recording
  • Why did we choose a recording over phonetic notation? Because not everyone is familiar with how to use phonetic notation and you can make it fun with a recording.

We’re excited for you to start using Name Pronunciation to better connect to your team members and respect each others’ humanity. Happy Sifting!

Want to learn more about how Name Pronunciation fits into our user profiles? Learn more about our Profile feature.

Want to see Name Pronunciation and all of Sift’s features in action? Request a personalized demo today!