If you want to cultivate a more diverse workforce, don’t keep it to yourself. While discussing the initiative internally is essential to fostering a supportive culture, you also need to make sure your mission is well documented and highly visible to prospective candidates.
Today, attracting diverse talent means demonstrating your commitment early and often in the hiring process. And an excellent place to start is with a sincere and meaningful Equal Employer Opportunity (EEO) statement. In other words, you not only need to write a statement, but it also needs to resonate with diverse job seekers.
In this blog post, we’re sharing a few tips and best practices to help you craft your EEO statement or uplevel your existing statement.
What is an Equal Opportunity Statement?
Created as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency responsible for administering and enforcing civil rights laws against workplace discrimination.
An EEO statement (also called an equal opportunity employer statement, or EOE statement) is an individual organization’s written commitment to non-discriminatory employment and the regulations set forth by the EEOC. The internal purpose of these statements is to prevent anyone involved in the hiring process from choosing a candidate (or not choosing a candidate) based on personal bias.
While having an EEO statement on job posts is not technically required by law, many employers publish them to signal to job seekers that they’re dedicated to fair hiring practices. At the very least, including an EEO statement lets potential candidates know you take workplace discrimination seriously. (Which is something that, given the still-lagging number of diverse professionals in the workforce, hasn’t always been the case.)
But it also offers you an opportunity to do much more.
A well-crafted, personalized EEO statement can also be a great way to share your company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts, underscore your cultural values, and help diverse candidates feel more comfortable applying to a position. And if done well, it will leave job seekers feeling positive about your employer brand.
How to Write an EEO Statement
Of course, the impact of your EEO statement depends on a few factors. Here are four things you can do to write a statement that supports and reflects your DEI efforts:
- Be genuine
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a flurry of organizations publishing their EEO and diversity statements — not just on job postings, but on their websites, social media, and within their physical workplaces. This is a good step in the right direction, but only if it’s a genuine reflection of your organization’s actions.
Your EEO statement should never be merely performative or leveraged as an empty marketing tactic. Instead, make sure the sentiments you include accurately depict the reality within your company. If it doesn’t, candidates will quickly see through the facade.
- Be specific
Most EEO statements point out that the employer doesn’t discriminate based on age, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, medical history, and other non-merit characteristics. Others also highlight that their EEO policy applies not only to hiring, but to promotions, training, layoffs, termination, and other decisions. But in addition to this boilerplate language, you can also take time to share how you encourage or celebrate diversity.
- Be human
Avoid dry or complicated legal language as this can be alienating and difficult to digest. Instead, make sure your EEO statement reflects the voice and tone of your job posting and your organization as a whole. People are much more likely to read information when it's written in a way that sounds personal and familiar.
- Link to your full policy
You don’t want to get too verbose in your job posting, especially if you have limited real estate. But this is an excellent opportunity to link to your company’s full policy or diversity page. Here, you can also share some of the work you’re doing to promote diversity within your organization, stories from diverse team members, and metrics to prove you’re backing up your promises with action.
Examples of EEO Statement for Job Posts
To help inspire your efforts, here are a few examples of EEO statements for job postings by real organizations committed to DEI:
“At 23andMe, we value a diverse, inclusive workforce and we provide equal employment opportunity for all applicants and employees. All qualified applicants for employment will be considered without regard to an individual’s race, color, sex, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, national origin or ancestry, citizenship, physical or mental disability, medical condition, family care status, marital status, domestic partner status, sexual orientation, genetic information, military or veteran status, or any other basis protected by federal, state or local laws. If you are unable to submit your application because of incompatible assistive technology or a disability, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. 23andMe will reasonably accommodate qualified individuals with disabilities to the extent required by applicable law.”
“Accenture is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We believe that no one should be discriminated against because of their differences, such as age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, religion or sexual orientation. All employment decisions shall be made without regard to age, race, creed, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, disability status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, citizenship status or any other basis as protected by federal, state, or local law. Accenture is committed to providing veteran employment opportunities to our service men and women. For details, view a copy of the Accenture Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy Statement.”
“Apple is an equal opportunity employer that is committed to inclusion and diversity. We take affirmative action to ensure equal opportunity for all applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, Veteran status, or other legally protected characteristics. Learn more about your EEO rights as an applicant”
“Dell is committed to the principle of equal employment opportunity for all employees and to providing employees with a work environment free of discrimination and harassment. All employment decisions at Dell are based on business needs, job requirements and individual qualifications, without regard to race, color, religion or belief, national, social or ethnic origin, sex (including pregnancy), age, physical, mental or sensory disability, HIV Status, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, marital, civil union or domestic partnership status, past or present military service, family medical history or genetic information, family or parental status, or any other status protected by the laws or regulations in the locations where we operate. Dell will not tolerate discrimination or harassment based on any of these characteristics. Dell encourages applicants of all ages. Read the full Equal Employment Opportunity Policy here.”
“We believe that sharing a meal brings people of all identities, backgrounds, and cultures together. We are committed to celebrating all dimensions of diversity in the workplace equally and ensuring that everyone feels a sense of inclusion and belonging. We also aim to extend this commitment to the partners we work with and the communities we serve. We are constantly listening, learning, and evolving to deliver on these principles. We are proud of our collaborative culture. Our diverse employee population enables us to connect with our customers and turn their feedback into meaningful action - from developing new recipes to constantly improving our process of getting dinner to our customers' homes. Our culture attracts top talent with shared values and forms the foundation for a great place to work!”
“Momentive is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to providing a workplace free from harassment and discrimination. We celebrate the unique differences of our employees because that is what drives curiosity, innovation, and the success of our business. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, veteran status, disability status, pregnancy, parental status, genetic information, political affiliation, or any other status protected by the laws or regulations in the locations where we operate. Accommodations are available for applicants with disabilities.”
“Publicis Groupe believes that to deliver the best solutions to our clients, our people need to reflect the diverse communities in which our clients operate. We value diversity and the skills, knowledge and experience that difference brings to our culture and solutions. We encourage applications from Indigenous Australians, people with disability, people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, mature age workers, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.”
Your job posting is one of the first impressions a job seeker may have with your brand, and a perfect opportunity to let prospective candidates know where you stand when it comes to DEI. By preparing a personalized and intentional equal employment opportunity statement, you can ensure you’re sending the right message and helping diverse candidates feel welcomed.