At some point or another we’ve all felt deflated or disrespected when someone has gotten our name wrong (even when it’s clearly written at the bottom of an email 😅). Pronouns are as much a part of someone’s identity as their name. Getting them right means more to people than you might think - it’s a way to help someone feel respected and seen. Our new pronouns feature makes it easy for your staff and your clients to communicate their pronouns, which in turn creates a safe, inclusive client experience for everyone who walks through your salon door.

Empower your community with pronouns in Timely

Pronouns, explained

Pronouns are terms we use to describe ourselves and our chosen gender, such as she/her or they/them. When we say  ‘gender’ we’re talking about how someone feels inside, not their biological sex. For example, a cisgender person is someone whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex, and a transgender person is someone who has a gender identity or gender expression that differs from their birth sex.

Cisgender or transgender people might use she/her and he/him, but others might prefer gender neutral pronouns such as they/them/their and ze/hir/hirs (pronounced zee/here/heres), or she/they and he/they if they’re gender fluid. Someone’s appearance or how they dress might not necessarily pair with their pronouns, which is why allowing your clients and team members to self-identify their pronouns is really important.

Table of most commonly used pronouns

The role hair and beauty professionals play

Hair and beauty professionals play an important role in affirming someone’s gender identity – you have the power to help someone express how they feel on the inside to the rest of the world. Hair and makeup are often the first port of call for someone looking to experiment with their identity, but salons can be gender-coded spaces, right down to setting the price of a treatment (e.g. male vs female priced haircuts or treatments).

How to talk about pronouns with clients

It sounds simple, but asking clients what their pronouns are when you say hello puts everyone at ease. There a few different ways you can do this:

  • In a one-on-one conversation, we recommend sharing your own pronouns first, aiming to create a space where others can openly share theirs. For example, ““Hello, my name is Alex, and my pronouns are they/them. Before we continue with this conversation, would you feel comfortable sharing your pronouns with me?”
  • Another tip is to listen to how your clients self refer, or how others refer to them (particularly if they are with friends/family). Mirror the pronouns they use.
  • As part of an introduction or icebreaker at work or in a group setting, you can say, “Tell us your name, your role, and if you’re comfortable, your gender pronoun.”

If you use Timely’s pronoun selector, you’ll know someone’s pronouns in advance before their appointment, which not only takes away any awkwardness, but helps you create a comfortable, welcoming client experience.

“Using the pronoun selector has not only ensured my clientele to feel comfortable and safe, but it’s allowed me to charge clients based on the skill, time and product used rather than by gendered categories,” Laura Spinney, hair stylist and owner, Mullet Mommy Sydney.

Why we’ve created the Pronouns feature

Timely is all about helping you create an amazing client experience, and making people feel appreciated, understood, and comfortable with you and your staff is a crucial part of that. If your clients feel like they belong in your salon, they’ll not only keep coming back; they’ll encourage their network to visit you as well. Our pronouns feature is the first in a number of improvements we’ll be making to Timely to help your business create an inclusive and diverse space for everyone.

How it works
Our simple pronoun selector makes it quick and easy to capture pronouns, which are then conveniently displayed across Timely, so you always have the information that you need. 

See it in action below:

The benefits of our pronoun feature

  • It allows your clients to self identify their personal pronouns when they make an online booking
  • Your client profiles in Timely now include personal pronouns, so they’re always available
  • Pronouns are surfaced in the calendar to help team members use the right identifying words with their clients
  • Your team members can also make their pronouns visible to clients as part of the online booking process

Not ready to talk about pronouns with your clients yet? 

You can easily switch off the pronoun selector in Calendar settings > Inclusion settings while you do some research to see if it’s right for your business.  

Frequently asked questions

Why are you doing this?
At Timely we believe that everyone deserves a safe and supportive environment. Surfacing pronouns is a small step that can have a big impact on staff and clients at Timely businesses, and contributes to our mission to make life better for people in the beauty industry.

Do I have to use the pronouns setting?
No, the pronouns setting is completely optional. We understand that everyone is on a different journey, and you may want to do your own research first. You can easily enable the feature in your Calendar settings when you’re ready to do so. 

Do clients and staff have to add their pronouns?
No, when the pronouns setting is enabled it gives clients and staff the opportunity to share their pronouns but they can leave the field blank if they prefer. It’s completely optional.

What do I do if a client or staff member is upset by this feature?
There are a lot of different beliefs on the topic of pronouns and gender expression, so it’s possible you might get some questions about the feature. You can let the person know that sharing pronouns is completely optional but that asking helps you to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment. And it’s not just the LGBTQI+ community that benefits from sharing pronouns. It also helps you create a welcoming environment for people with unfamiliar sounding, gender-neutral or androgenous names. 

Does this work with Consult?
We don’t have a pronouns component for Consult yet, but we’ll be adding one very soon to automatically sync pronouns to a clients profile. In the meantime you can add your own pronouns question to your custom forms.

What else is Timely doing to support the LGBTQI+ community?
Timely has been a champion for equity, diversity and inclusion from day one. In fact, “bring your whole self to work” is one of our four company values. We have always believed that everyone has the right to feel like they belong – no matter their gender, age, nationality or sexual preference. Here at Timely, some initiatives we’ve taken on include:

  • Establishing a formal DE&I committee called TimelyBelong who actively look for ways to champion diversity and inclusion both internally and within our community. This is an employee led group who is passionate about making a difference.
  • Appointing an SVP of PX, Culture & Inclusion. This is the first role of this nature at an executive level in ANZ. Mary Haddock-Staniland focuses on elevating Timely as a global leader in workplace inclusion and engagement.
  • Partnering with the national body of workplace Diversity & Inclusion, Diversity Works New Zealand, who provides Unconscious Bias training for all our employees.
  • Asking for candidates’ pronouns during our recruitment process for the last two years.
  • Providing the ability to choose “Self described” when selecting gender in Timely to cater to non binary individuals. 
  • Working alongside EverCommerce Inc. who acquired Timely in July 2021 to establish a framework for collecting and sharing key data on our people. This helps us identify areas of potential bias.

And that’s certainly not the end. We’re on a journey to build a more diverse and equitable future for our team, customers, and wider community. At Timely, we exist to make life better for people in the beauty industry. To us, “better” looks like more diverse perspectives, a sense of safety and belonging, and a culture that honours and respects life-long learning.


Want to know more? Check out these amazing resources


Our valued partners 

This feature wouldn’t have been possible without the help of partnership with Diversity Works New Zealand, the national body for Workplace DEI, and Timely customers who have helped us create this super important improvement to Timely. We’re so grateful for their time and support.