How to create a diversity and inclusion statement for your business

brainstorm at work meeting

At crooton, we spend a lot of time thinking (and writing) about diversity and inclusion. We’ve talked previously about the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) for your company, but it really can’t be overstated.

Having a diverse workplace directly impacts your bottom line, helps you serve a wider array of customers, reduces costly staff turnover, and increases productivity.

Despite the vast benefits of successful DEI efforts, the UK is not doing well at increasing diversity in the workplace. The status quo clearly isn’t working, and companies are increasingly aware that they need to make real, substantive changes to their hiring practices.

With so much ‘real’ DEI work to do, does a diversity and inclusion statement really matter?

Having a DEI statement won’t magically fix any of the diversity problems you may face, but it’s still an important step. A good diversity and inclusion statement is public and highlights your commitment to making change. It shows everyone, from potential new hires to colleagues, customers and the general public, that you are ready to step up and address the issue.

Having a public diversity and inclusion statement also helps to focus minds within your company. Transparency is essential for people looking to work with your company, but it can also motivate senior leaders to embrace change. Much like a mission statement, your diversity and inclusion statement sets you on the right path. It’s then up to you to walk it.

How to write a diversity, equity, and inclusion statement: 7 helpful tips to get it right

1. Think about how you want to sound

Your DEI statement will have to fulfil many different roles at once. It will guide your DEI efforts, but it is also an integral part of your company branding.

This might sound cynical, but considering DEI a crucial part of your employer and company branding actually highlights how seriously you take the issue.

Consider the tone of the rest of your branding, and ensure that your DEI statement lines up. If your branding and corporate identity are relatively casual, ensure that your DEI statement matches this. If you tend towards a more formal approach, keep this tone consistent across your DEI statement.

Typically, tech firms and startups have relatively casual branding. Financial services tend towards a more formal/corporate tone, and healthcare providers often maintain a compassionate and personal voice. Although this is the general trend, plenty of companies adopt a different approach. Focus on being consistent.

2. Think about what is important to your company

Even with the best of intentions, you can’t address all DEI issues equally. Some issues will naturally be more important or relevant to your organisation than others. But that’s actually a good thing! You’re not trying to tick all the DEI boxes. Instead, aim to create a statement that works for your company that your team can commit to.

Creating a DEI statement that fits your company’s needs isn’t something you can do alone. A meaningful diversity, equity and inclusion statement comes from open and honest conversations with people across your organisation. These conversations aren’t always easy, but we’ve put together an article to help you guide DEI conversations across your company.

3. Remember that this is a living document

Creating a DEI statement isn’t one of those tasks you do once and then never revisit. Your diversity, equity, and inclusion statement is something that can, and should, be reviewed regularly to reflect your progress and incorporate changing priorities.

This might seem like an additional burden, but it can make it easier to produce a meaningful statement. If your DEI statement never changes, there’s pressure to make it all-encompassing. If you plan regular reviews, your DEI statement becomes a reflection of your priorities, needs, and objectives over the next 12 or 36 months.

4. Consider length carefully

Everyone at your company needs to be familiar with your DEI statement. This means it needs to be accessible. It also needs to drive change, so it needs to be powerful. A 15-page report might be all-encompassing, but it lacks both accessibility and power.

Most diversity, equity, and inclusion statements are under 100 words long. Aiming for around 100 words allows you to create a powerful message that still manages to be comprehensive and nuanced.

One hundred words might sound like plenty, and it is. But only if each word pulls its weight. Choose your language carefully. This will almost certainly take longer than you expect, but the results may be surprising. Carefully crafted, short statements are more powerful than most people anticipate.

5. Include other voices

Creating a meaningful diversity, equity, and inclusion statement means ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard. This means making space for everyone in your organisation to contribute and taking everyone’s contribution seriously.

Including a wide variety of voices makes it easy for your whole company to feel that they have a stake in your DEI efforts and helps your DEI statement become more than just words on a page. Your DEI can guide your actions and create genuine change if everyone feels involved.

6. Be specific

Your diversity, equity, and inclusion statement isn’t a fluffy, generic wishlist. Statements like “We believe in diversity” can come across as hollow virtue-signalling if they aren’t backed up by something more substantive.

Even though your DEI statement is short, it does need at least some explanation of how you plan to put your commitments into action. Mentioning specific policies and initiatives is significantly more compelling than abstract statements.

You don’t need to fully detail the policies and programmes you name, but make it easy for interested stakeholders to find more information. A well-organised website with links from your DEI statement to each of your DEI initiatives reinforces the impression that diversity, equity, and inclusion are priorities for you, rather than just talking points.

7. Be transparent

In addition to making it easy to find more information about your policies, make sure that interested parties can easily find information about your DEI progress. Link to demographic data about your workforce, including age, ethnicity, gender, disabilities, and more. 

Making this data easily accessible serves two functions. It shows that you have nothing to hide, and it also motivates people inside your company to make real progress.

Creating a great DEI statement is only the beginning. For more thoughts on improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace, check out the crooton blog and some of our posts on the topic including, eight tips to reduce bias in your interview process and the state of diversity and inclusion in the UK workplace. And if you like the sound of incorporating DEI into your branding, you may also be interested in our article about creating and delivering a great employer brand

For more information and help or to learn about our services, get in touch with the crooton team today!