A Guide to Creating a Diversity and Inclusion Statement

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A diversity and inclusion statement affirms your company’s commitment to an inclusive workplace that welcomes people from different backgrounds and with different perspectives. Your diversity and inclusion statement may be an important element of your small business’s culture.  It demonstrates your commitment to inclusivity, a topic that has become increasingly important in the modern world.

If you’re a small business owner with only a few employees, you might think there’s no need to draft a diversity and inclusion statement. Think again! Even if you don’t have employees, you likely have customers you serve and vendors you work with. Your D&I statement can apply to all parts of the business, including customers, potential business partners, shareholders, and even the public at large. 

Additionally, creating a diversity and inclusion statement now will help guide your business as it grows, ensuring you uphold your core values consistently as you expand. Below, discover how to create a diversity and inclusion statement for your business.

What is a Diversity and Inclusion Statement?

In recent years, the broader public has become increasingly vocal about calling for more diverse representation in all facets of modern life, from the workplace to the media. Brands that demonstrate inclusiveness are positively recognized by consumers. Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty line has been lauded for catering to all skin tones, for example, while Target made headlines for including differently-abled models in their ad campaigns.

Behind the scenes, companies are also demonstrating a fresh focus on diversity and inclusion when it comes to who they hire and collaborate with. Smart businesses know this isn’t just about meeting public demand — it’s good business sense. Companies with diverse management teams generate 19% more revenue through innovation, are 33% more likely to achieve above-average profits, and are 70% more likely to penetrate new markets, for instance.

As a small business owner, your diversity and inclusion statement will help you decide how to run your company, guiding everything from hiring practices to partnerships and collaborations with other businesses. It might cover workplace culture, employee hiring and benefits, and customer service, among other points.  For example, you might commit to supporting minority-owned businesses (or becoming a certified minority-owned business yourself, if applicable).

Google offers a compelling example of how a diversity and inclusion statement can be used. The full statement is posted on their website, along with case studies and reports that demonstrate how they live up to this commitment. The search engine giant also interweaves their diversity and inclusion statement with their equal employment opportunity statement, which they include in job postings. This can give you an idea of what points you might address in your own statement:

“We are committed to equal employment opportunity regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, disability, gender identity, or Veteran status. We also consider qualified applicants regardless of criminal histories, consistent with legal requirements.”

Ultimately, every company is different and what you include in your diversity and inclusion statement is up to you. Below, we explain how to draft the right statement to suit your needs.

5 Steps for Writing a Diversity and Inclusion Statement

Your diversity and inclusion statement doesn’t need to be lengthy. Prioritize clarity and authenticity. You want to create an actionable, straightforward document that is true to you and your business. It should live on your website, in job postings, and within educational materials about your company.

Here’s what you’ll have to do to create the perfect statement:

  1. Decide on the tone
  2. Specify what an inclusion and diversity statement means to you
  3. Include why it matters
  4. Focus on how you will make it part of your company
  5. Plan for diversity and inclusion from the start, in hiring and processes

1. Decide on the tone

Set a tone for your statement that’s in line with your overall business vision. Do you want a more serious and straightforward statement? Then you might refer to your company in the third person and stick to the facts: “XYZ Company values a culture of inclusion and is committed to working with people regardless of race, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, [etc.].” Alternatively, you can get more creative and personal, for example, by using “you” and “we” pronouns.

Check out how these big brands use language to set an identifiable  tone:

  • Cisco: “So, you have colorful hair? Don’t care. Tattoos? Show off your ink. Like polka dots? That’s cool. Pop culture geek? Many of us are. Passion for technology and world changing? Be you, with us!”
    • The brand uses casual language and fun examples to demonstrate creativity and speak to a more laid-back culture that engages people with varied life experiences.
  • Apple: “At Apple, we’re not all the same. And that’s our greatest strength. We draw on the differences in who we are, what we’ve experienced, and how we think. Because to create products that serve everyone, we believe in including everyone.”
    • The brand cleverly ties in their products, showing how inclusivity is an overarching theme in their entire business model.
  • IBM: “Being You @ IBM”
    • This headline is personal and reflects IBM’s tech-centric brand with the “@” symbol. It’s creative and casual, emphasizing the brand’s uniqueness.

2. Specify What Inclusion and Diversity Means to You

Be specific about what your diversity and inclusion statement means for your business or brand. Is it about welcoming people from different cultures, nationalities, or races? Define the points that you deem relevant. Take another peek at the Google example above to see what elements you might include. You can even get more specific. For example, P&G aims “to achieve 40% representation of multicultural employees at every management level of the company” in the U.S.

3. Explain Why it Matters

Include language explaining why you are creating your diversity and inclusion statement. Why does it matter to you and your company? How will it impact your business goals and your role in the broader community? What does it mean in terms of your responsibility to your teams and customers? If you can focus on how your diversity and inclusion mission statement involves your customers, it is a very attractive element for people looking to work with you.

Deloitte shows how you can acknowledge the benefits of diversity and inclusion for your business, your clients, and your employees: “DEI (diversity equity inclusion) enables us to leverage all that makes each one of us who we are to deliver the most valuable perspectives to our clients, and the most engaging experiences for our colleagues. It helps us continue to evolve, attract the best talent, and keep our competitive edge.” This is honest and genuine. The company highlights how DEI is truly valuable to them, making a convincing argument for their commitment to this vision.

4. Describe How You Will Implement Those Values

You don’t want your diversity and inclusion statement to just become a forgotten piece of paper. Use action words to identify how you will implement and live out this vision and define metrics for how you will measure your success. Again, P&G offers a compelling example with their highly specific commitment to have 40% representation of multicultural employees throughout the company in the U.S. 

Create a roadmap for how you plan to fulfill your own statement. For example, your statement says, “We aim to create an inclusive workforce.” How will you achieve this? You might give all employees sensitivity training and offer mentoring programs. Another example: Your statement says, “We are committed to supporting minority businesses.” Again, what actions will back up these words? Get inspired by the U.S. government, which aims to award at least 5% of contracts to 8(a) businesses each year.

5. Plan for Diversity and Inclusion from the Start

Once you have your actionable D&I statement in place, it will serve as a valuable roadmap for your business at every stage, from hiring to daily operations. For example, you can use it to find the right employees for your small business, ensuring you hire individuals whose worldviews align with those of your business. This will also improve employee retention, cutting on human resources costs. You can also refer to it when establishing processes for your growing and evolving company.

Planning for Diversity and Inclusion in Your Small Business​

Having your D&I statement ingrained in your business culture from the start ensures that it will become a core part of your business identity, and appropriately guide how your business interacts with customers, vendors, and employees. This will not only ensure a cohesive brand, but it will likely boost your business success. ZenBusiness is committed to helping entrepreneurs like yourself thrive with educational resources and tools that make it easier to start and run your business.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness

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