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How to Write a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Statement

How to write a DEI statement

A growing number of companies have made a renewed focus to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in an era that has been marked by racial and social unrest, and a tightening labor market. They recognize the value that being committed to a strong DEI culture can bring. Encapsulating their vision and commitment can best be done in a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) statement.

That hasn’t always been the case. While once neglected as an area of focus, DEI has now become visibly present at all Fortune 100 companies, according to HRDive. “As of at least July 2022, all Fortune 100 companies have made a public commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” they say.


What is a diversity, equity, and inclusion statement?

A diversity, equity, and inclusion statement is a formal declaration that conveys a company’s commitment to DEI. It outlines, specifically, where the company’s efforts are focused and the steps they are taking to build a strong DEI culture. 

A DEI statement will:

  • Affirm the company’s commitment to DEI.
  • Identify the groups that are the primary areas of focus (e.g., women, people of color, veterans, older workers, etc.).
  • Outline the steps the company is taking to create a stronger DEI culture. 

These statements are similar to mission statements in that they are brief and provide both an indication of where the organization is now and how their efforts positively impact their key stakeholders, primarily employees.


Does your company need a diversity, equity, and inclusion statement?

Companies that hope to make an impact through their DEI efforts can benefit from a diversity, equity, and inclusion statement. Committing their values and aspirations to writing can help them hone in on what’s most important while framing a message that can be meaningful and impactful for employees and others.

There are a number of examples of companies, large and small, that are making use of DEI statements to help clarify their DEI focus and purpose, and share their top priorities.


How to write a diversity, equity, and inclusion statement

DEI statements support and align with a company’s mission. They should include:

  • Your company’s mission
  • How your DEI vision relates to your mission
  • The specific groups you are focused on
  • Some specific examples of DEI efforts you have, or will, undertake

Writing a DEI statement isn’t a solitary exercise. It’s important to bring together a team to tackle the drafting of a statement that might include:

  • Your Chief Diversity Officer (CDO)
  • Your CEO
  • Other members of your C-suite
  • Potentially, some employee representatives
  • Potentially, some customer and other key stakeholder representatives

While championing diversity, equity, and inclusion is a noble undertaking and the “right thing to do,” from a business standpoint, the focus should be on how your DEI efforts will drive business success. That’s the tie-in to your mission statement.

Gathering input from a broad range of stakeholders can ensure an inclusive process that has considered multiple viewpoints. Before writing you should gain clarity and consensus around:

  • Your purpose. Is DEI important to your organization?
  • Your priorities or primary areas of focus. For instance, Visier recognized its own lack of women in management roles. Our culture of transparency around data helped us establish a desired end-state as a company objective and to drive behaviors in pursuit of accountability and a desired outcome.
  • Your key initiatives. How will you achieve your goals related to diversity, equity, and inclusion? Initially, this might involve focusing on training everyone in the organization about unconscious bias—how to recognize their own biases, how to recognize them in others, and how to work to minimize bias.

Assign one individual to work with these inputs to craft a statement that can be shared in draft form for feedback among your original team—or even among a broader group. This can help to gain commitment and support for the efforts you ultimately undertake. 

The idea of your DEI statement is to encapsulate your philosophy and plans around DEI. Don’t overthink it. Don’t wordsmith it to death. Don’t aim for perfection. Think of your statement as a work in progress that can, and should, be reviewed and revised over time as your efforts advance and mature, and as your environment and needs change.


5 Examples of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statements

Here we take a look at some examples of how other companies have approached the process of creating a DEI statement and what those statements look like. 

1. Amazon

We are a company of builders who bring varying backgrounds, ideas, and points of view to inventing on behalf of our customers. Our diverse perspectives come from many sources including gender, race, age, national origin, sexual orientation, culture, education, and professional and life experience. We are committed to diversity and inclusion and always look for ways to scale our impact as we grow.”

2. Target

“At Target, our team rallies around a single purpose: to help all families discover the joy of everyday life. That purpose and our inclusion of “all” directly connects to our inclusivity value as a company. We leverage our purpose to champion a more inclusive society that provides a fulfilling place to work and enhances engagement with our guests, communities and suppliers.”

3. AT&T

“At AT&T, we’re in the business of connecting people. We know that to connect the world, we must reflect the world. For over five decades, we’ve prioritized equity and encouraged diversity and inclusion. 

Bringing people together from diverse backgrounds isn’t always easy, and it doesn’t just happen. But when we take the time to make meaningful connections and understand one another, we often find that our differences are the source of our greatest strengths. In 2021, we continued to rewrite the blueprints for what it means to truly be a diverse, equitable and inclusive company that brings people Together by Design.”

4. Home Depot

“We strive to create a place where everyone feels at home. Here, our associates are respected for who they are and for what they can do. Our company is stronger when we challenge each other to look at situations in new ways and when we can support every customer who walks through our doors and make them feel welcome, too.”

5. Visier

“At Visier, we believe that data can be used to drive changes in the behaviors guiding the moments that determine workforce representation and shape the dialog of a community that supports inclusion. We set out to combine the practices that shape individual talent decisions with the culture that fosters inclusion through the use of data.”

Companies that pursue DEI initiatives tend to recognize that there is a real and positive impact to their bottom line when they seek to create inclusive workplaces that take advantage of the widest possible range of ideas, values, insights and creativity.

To achieve desired results, it’s important to ground your culture in data to build trust and accountability. Revisit your DEI statement regularly and share challenges and progress. Bring good intentions together with accountability for actions through transparency to achieve lasting and meaningful change. 

Finally, be sure to use data to both help you understand your current state—and measure progress toward your desired end state. People analytics is powerful and can help to inform your actions—and your key stakeholders. At Visier we refer to this as “Open Book”—the use of data and rich insights to make better decisions that support a more diverse and inclusive workplace. 

Interested in learning more? Let us show you how Visier works

About the author: Linda Pophal

Linda Pophal, MA, PCM, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is the founder and owner of Strategic Communications, LLC, and a marketing and communication strategist with expertise in HR and employee relations. With a background as a business journalist, her writing has appeared in the HR Daily Advisor, Human Resource Executive, and SHRM. She is a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire.

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