A diversity and inclusion statement can illustrate your organization’s commitment to fostering a welcoming workplace that celebrates differences.
If your business doesn’t already have a diversity and inclusion statement for your business, you should. Like mission and vision statements, a D&I statement provides a guiding principle for your business to aspire to. When you define your commitment to diversity and inclusion, it directs the company to achieve. Every decision you make, from the smallest choices to the largest strategic plan, should support your overall mission and your D&I commitment. Without a solid statement of values, it may be challenging to achieve your mission from here.
What is a D&I statement?
Diversity and inclusion statements can be short and sweet or long and in-depth. They translate your values and demonstrate your pledge to an inclusive and varied workplace. Your D&I statement shouldn’t be just a section on your website (although it should be prominently displayed there), or a subheading in your annual report. It should be core to the direction of the organization.
Creating a D&I statement begins with examining your values. What do you want to say about your business? What do you want your employees and customers to know about your commitment? Translate these values into a simple statement — one that’s easy to read and interpret.
Some organizations separate their diversity statement from their inclusion statement. Others combine both in a single overarching communication. Determine what works best for your organization and draft the statement with your own words and commitment.
Your D&I statement shouldn’t be just a section on your website (although it should be prominently displayed there), or a subheading in your annual report. It should be core to the direction of the organization.
Capture their attention
Start with a compelling headline. A brief headline that sums up your commitment can be followed by a subheading and a small amount of text. Most D&I statements are 75 words or less. You’ll want to discuss your values and briefly outline the steps you take to achieve those in your statement.
Your headline should reflect the values of your organization. If your company is more formal, you’ll want to use something like, “Our commitment to diversity and inclusion.” If you’re looking to be a bit more creative, “Equally Different” or “You Are Welcome Here” might work well.
Some of the most powerful statements start with a headline that’s short and to the point then adds a subheading. At T-Mobile a longer description follows the headline and subheading: “Uniqueness is powerful. Be yourself. We like it that way.” Apple begins their inclusion statement with “Different together.” Zenefits starts with “At Zenefits we are leveling the playing field — for everyone. No matter who you are, where you’re from, how you think, or who you love. We believe you should be you.”
These short introductions set the foundation for what you want employees and customers to know about your organization. Make sure to reflect the values you hold and demonstrate them on a daily basis.
Build on the theme
The text of your statement should outline your goals and the steps you take to achieve them. If your team is as varied as your products or services, make sure to include that in your statement. If you’re a global organization, include your reach around the world.
Many companies include their commitment isn’t just words on paper, it’s everyone’s pride and responsibility. At Deloitte, their statement outlines “…each of us contributes to inclusion — we all have a role to play.” This illustrates inclusion is everyone’s job: employees are expected to be a positive force in a welcoming and inclusive work environment.
Set the tone for a statement that values inclusion and differences, and seeks out opportunities for growth.Use positive language that offers a sense purpose in your statement. Use words like “welcoming,” “celebrate,” “innovation,” “equity,” “promote,” “individuality” etc. Set the tone for a statement that values inclusion and differences, and seeks out opportunities for growth.
Cite specific actions your company uses to build and promote diversity and inclusion. Equity data, information on outreach efforts and initiatives, and more can illustrate your business walks the talk when it comes to D&I.
Many companies complete their statement(s) with a call to action for customers and potential candidates, including “If you share our values, you belong here.”
Where to post your diversity and inclusion statements
Once you’ve created your diversity and/or inclusion statement, you’ll want to prominently display it throughout your organization — physically and virtually.
Your website should have a link to the full statement either in your “About Us” section or as a stand-alone link. When searchers look for your company online, your D&I statement should pop up, as well. Make sure the page itself is searchable when you add it to your sites. Social media pages should also include your statement or the headline with a link. You’ll want the information to be easily accessible to readers: don’t bury it, place it with pride.
Glassdoor found almost 70% of job seekers consider a diverse workplace an important factor when considering employment.
Every job posting and job description you place should include your commitment at the end of the post. Candidates want to work for an organization that mirrors their values and beliefs. Glassdoor found almost 70% of job seekers consider a diverse workplace an important factor when considering employment. Your job postings should, at the very least, include your headline and/or subheading with a link to a full diversity and inclusion statement on your website.
Add your D&I statement to your company and individual worker’s email signatures. Again, if the statement is short, include it in its entirety. If longer, include the headline and a link that tells the reader how to learn more about your commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace.
Don’t just relegate your commitment to communications. Prominently display the statement in your physical space, as well. The reminder to employees and customers illustrates that you walk the talk.
Make it a team effort
Your small business may revolve around complex engineering or serving the public: writing a compelling D&I statement may not be your wheelhouse. No worries. If you can, ask members of your staff to help brainstorm the statement or look to online resources for things you should or could include.
Staff members, particularly those at the front lines, are well aware of the strength of diversity. They know your customers come in an endless variety, and they know how to provide each with the best possible service. These workers have a front-row perspective of diversity, and can help you formulate a statement that outlines your values — values that speak to them and your customer base.
Put the statement into action
Once you’ve created your D&I statement, make sure to turn it into actionable steps in the workplace:
- Look to data to establish baseline metrics on where you’re doing well, and where you need to put in more effort
- Create a communication plan that informs all employees of your statement and the role we all play in helping achieve goals
- Train management staff to incorporate the principles into everything they and their staff members do
A D&I statement is just the beginning. It’s a stepping off point to create a workplace that celebrates and benefits from differences.
Use it as your lighthouse
For many companies, the mission statement is a guidepost: how do the things we do, no matter how small or mundane, help us achieve our mission? The same should be said for your D&I statement. How are our choices furthering efforts to create a diverse and welcoming workplace and environment for our customers? If the choices you make aren’t furthering the cause, they might need more scrutiny. If they are, you’re on the path to a business that welcomes differences and embraces them.