How to Write a Clear and Impactful Diversity Statement
Your organization is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce where all employees feel safe, empowered, and supported. But how do you get this across to job seekers? Furthermore, how do you ensure this sentiment feels genuine and adequately reflects your company values?
This is where a diversity statement comes in.
A well-written and powerful diversity statement will give potential candidates a glimpse into life at your organization and a thorough understanding of how you’re working toward your diversity goals. And, in addition to being a helpful tool for attracting diverse talent, it also offers a north star for existing employees to ensure diversity remains top-of-mind.
Read on as we delve into what a diversity statement should include, why you need one, and how to write your own.
What is a Diversity Statement?
A diversity statement summarizes your organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and how you observe this commitment within your day-to-day efforts. A great diversity statement clearly defines how you cultivate diversity through your vision and mission and how you express your values through your actions.
A statement can be multiple paragraphs or just a few concise but meaningful sentences. But, regardless of length, your statement should demonstrate precisely how your organization is dedicated to providing an inclusive environment.
You can use this statement in a variety of settings. For example, you’ll often see these statements published on a company website’s diversity page and interwoven with their equal employment opportunity (EEO) statement on job postings. Organizations might also reflect on the statement during quarterly kick-off meetings, highlight it within their DEI training materials, add it to their company LinkedIn page, and even display it within their physical workspaces.
Why Do You Need a Diversity Statement?
A great diversity statement benefits your organization in two ways:
First, it acts as a guiding principle for your existing workforce. Taking time to define and articulate your DEI mission will help with goal-setting initiatives. And when you evangelize your diversity statement across the organization, you’ll help align employees at every level and ensure they recognize the value of achieving those goals.
Second, it helps diverse talent feel more comfortable applying. According to our 2021 Diversity Hiring Report, half of underrepresented job seekers believe that being from an underrepresented community is a disadvantage — likely because 62% of these job seekers have experienced bias in the hiring process. Clearly communicating your commitment to diversity shows diverse job seekers that they’ll be valued and respected by your organization.
How to Write Your Diversity Statement
Here are a few tips to help you craft a powerful diversity statement:
- Identify your strengths
The best place to start with your diversity statement is by defining what your company is actively doing to support DEI. Jot down a few ways you’re currently working to create a diverse workforce. For example, perhaps you’ve invested in DEI training, set diverse hiring, or partnered with professional associations or institutions that serve underrepresented groups. While you may not specifically mention these things in your statement, taking stock of your efforts can help you pinpoint what your company does well.
- Gather insight from your workforce
Consider fielding an anonymous survey to gather honest feedback about how employees feel your company performs in its DEI mission and where you could improve. Additionally, be sure to consult any employee resource groups / business resource groups within your organization and ask them to highlight your organization’s strengths and weaknesses with regards to DEI and their own lived experiences. Having this insight will help ensure your statement authentically reflects your culture.
- Determine why it matters to your organization
What does your company believe? Why does your company prioritize diversity? How will achieving your goals around diversity affect the way your company operates and how it serves its customers?
Your statement should answer these three questions.
For example, the TripAdvisor diversity statement says, “We believe in championing the diverse identities, abilities, experiences, and voices of our employees, travelers, candidates, business partners, and industry peers. This inspires us to think bigger, act more fearlessly, improve constantly, and always remember - we are better together.
How to Avoid Performative Diversity Commitments
In recent years, job seekers and consumers have become increasingly aware of diverse representation (or lack thereof) and are more vocal about addressing systemic inequities. These values affect their decisions about who they work for and which brands they support. In fact, one survey found that 64% of consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that use inclusive advertising.
But while companies are increasingly speaking about diversity in communications, they aren't always taking action needed or engaging in necessary behaviors to support the commitment to diversity behind the scenes. These performative displays can quickly backfire and tarnish brands’ reputations.
That’s why it’s vital your diversity statement reflects the genuine, authentic efforts you’re making toward creating a holistically diverse workforce, supporting underrepresented groups, and eliminating inequities. By putting action behind your words, holding your leadership team and hiring managers accountable, and using a DEI platform to increase, manage, and measure diversity within your organization, you can avoid performative commitments and achieve your goals.
We would love to see examples of great diversity statements. We encourage you to share any you have seen via Twitter or LinkedIn and tag us @mathison.