Many individuals avoid writing diversity statements because they believe it will come across as too political, yet the most effective statements should be authentic and outline specific plans for prioritizing DEI in their position of application.
Start off by reviewing other similar statements, such as those provided by your school. Read them closely and take notes about what makes them effective.
One of the key components of an authentic diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) statement is authenticity. People must believe that their company is truly committed to their DEI vision and strategy for them to believe the effort. One part of this is being able to capture marginalized groups’ perspectives – not simply running half-day workshops or hiring chief diversity officers is enough; organizations need to speak directly to members of those communities in order to identify what their needs really are.
Veterans United Home Loans DEI has created a webpage which features their core values, discussing how they live these values daily, as well as testimonies from employees about how their work impacts lives – giving their message credibility and showing that the company values its employees’ voices.
Authenticity has garnered significant discussion in social sciences. A popular conception of authenticity equates with living true to oneself; however, scholars such as Guignon have highlighted that this view of authenticity can often be misconstrued and oversimplified – especially its application in popular culture such as movies. Tropes such as an “inner voice” have often been used to depict an authentic self uncorrupted by modern life’s pressures and competition; yet these types of depictions of authenticity may actually be harmful in other ways.
Identity politics can lead to an individualistic approach that creates distance between self and other people, and may prove ineffective. Instead of emphasizing authentic selves alone, individuals need to recognize that their identities are intricately intertwined with those of others and that actions taken can impact other lives even when not intentional.
DEI statements should provide your definitions of equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging (EDIB), demonstrate how research, teaching and service fulfill those EDIB goals and show who your target audience is; whether that be internal employees, community partners or customers and suppliers – DEI statements should demonstrate why it matters for your organization.
Your DEI statement needs to have an impactful statement that helps ensure it has an effectful business impact, so be specific in defining your goals and how you plan to reach them. Doing this will allow you to develop an actionable strategy aligned with company vision while making DEI efforts seen as more than an afterthought than strategic business priorities.
Starting the conversation about diversity can be made simpler by gathering together a group of knowledgeable individuals who are all aware of its basics. You could ask your HR team member to focus on defining diversity, equity and inclusion; another person might be able to provide insight on how these concepts pertain to workplace culture or business needs in your current location.
Once everyone understands the various concepts, it’s time to craft your DEI statement. Use positive language and avoid using buzzwords or jargon that might cause confusion or alienate your audience. Keep in mind that your DEI statement shouldn’t simply serve to promote your brand but instead play an instrumental role in building an inclusive and equitable world.
By having clear goals in place, achieving them becomes much simpler. By setting specific measurable metrics to assess the success of DEI initiatives and monitor your progress over time, this allows you to see where you have come and where additional work must be completed.
In order to effectively promote diversity within your business, but still haven’t achieved racial equity, setting an aggressive goal such as 40% representation from underrepresented groups in leadership roles within three years can help measure progress and ensure your efforts have a tangible and positive impact on people in your community and beyond.
Honesty in regards to diversity is crucial. Acknowledging your DEI statement as an ongoing project and linking any public-facing diversity reports that demonstrate changes you’ve undertaken is also acceptable.
3. Linking it back to your mission & values
Your statement needs to reflect your company culture in order for it to be effective. Consider how your diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy fits into the larger vision for your company’s success; linking DEI goals with business vision allows you to articulate why DEI matters to employees, customers and the wider community.
Once you’ve established your goals and vision, the next step should be drafting your statement. Working closely with key stakeholders, use positive language that motivates action while creating a sense of purpose for your business. Furthermore, including specific measurable objectives like an aim to increase leadership diversity or commitments such as antiracist pedagogy in classroom teaching will enable you to track progress more closely while showing that DEI efforts truly are making a difference in society.
As much as DEI statements tend to focus on creating an inclusive work environment, it’s also essential to remember that it goes beyond simply celebrating diversity; it means making sure your company operates in an equitable and fair way. Therefore, an ideal DEI statement won’t just include positive sentiments; rather it should demonstrate what it means to live your DEI values through actions and policies which uphold both equity and fairness.
Adobe provides an excellent example of this concept with their statement which blends creativity with equality and fairness in their workplace. Their slogan, ‘Adobe for All,’ encapsulates inclusiveness with just three words – making their message both clear and concise.
An inspiring diversity statement can be an invaluable asset in building trust between your company and its employees, customers, and the greater community. However, poorly written ones may do more harm than good and stray into performative territory; to avoid this pitfall follow these four simple tips for writing an effective diversity statement: be authentic; clear; specific and link it back to mission/values statements.
4. Consider your target audience
When writing about diversity, it is crucial to take your audience into account. This holds true whether you are a technical communicator specializing in accessibility or an academic who has been required to submit an Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Statement as part of a faculty search process.
Effective statements require having a clearly-stated purpose and engaging your target audience in meaningful ways. To achieve this, consider the context of your document, your audience’s needs and expectations as well as any intersections with rhetorical situations in DEI-related topics. In order to do this, gain an understanding of your audience’s experiences in DEI matters.
As part of your presentation, it is also essential that the issue be approached from an appropriate viewpoint. For example, if your target audience are people with disabilities experiencing difficulties participating in higher education, you should focus on disability-related issues and their effects in society as a whole. Likewise, if those affected by racial oppression want to share their stories then focus on that instead of talking about Missouri or Kansas being difficult states for immigrants to settle in.
At the core of it all lies an essential reminder: A successful DEI statement must do more than express values and intentions; it should take actionable steps toward real change and make tangible contributions. To this end, your DEI statement should reflect your organization’s mission statement as well as be evident in daily work practices.
As an example, if you are a university professor committed to supporting students from underrepresented backgrounds in your class or research lab, this should be reflected in how you teach and interact with your students. This might involve hosting student study groups, offering extended office hours, or adopting antiracist pedagogy when teaching your classes or lab sessions.
Before writing any diversity statements, it is worth spending some time to ensure you have a clear idea of your objective and audience before starting to write your diversity statements. This will enable you to avoid including too much irrelevant or confusing material for them and ensure you deliver exactly what’s expected of you. It would also be worthwhile including data backing up claims such as percentage of women or people of color in leadership positions within your organisation, or your progress on DEI initiatives.