'Guys' is one of the most common ways of addressing groups of people in the English language; we use it often in everyday conversation without giving much thought to its impact. But 'guys' can understandably be considered gender-specific, making it confusing or unappreciated when it's used to refer to a group that includes women.
The first step to overcoming unconscious biases, such as using the word 'guys', is awareness. On the back of a conversation taking place in our Team channel in HipChat, my co-worker Diana and I began chatting about how we could build more awareness of our own language within Hotjar. Both of us were conscious of, and unhappy about, our own misuse of this word, and felt that its use was quite widely spread across the team.
We came up with the idea of creating a 'guys' jar—like a swear jar—where people could put in a euro every time they used the word in the wrong context. For us at Hotjar, this meant to a mixed-gendered or women-only group; referring to all men as guys is still absolutely fine!
So, in an effort to build awareness within Hotjar, we started a 30-day “Guys: The New 4 Letter Word” challenge to help us move away from using 'guys' to address mixed-gender groups. Here is Diana posting the rules in our company Discourse page: