How to write a DEI statement that truly makes a difference

What is a DEI Statement?

Are two heads better than one? Are you better off with input from more people? If you answer yes, you understand the importance of different opinions and perspectives in decision-making.

Having more people weigh in on a problem prevents blind spots, near-sighted thinking, and worn-out ideas. Why? Because no two people think the same way.

Exchanging ideas with others broadens understanding and can lead to new ideas. Collaboration, synergy, brainstorming—whatever you want to call it, experts and amateurs alike use it to explore new ways to solve challenges.

This is the thinking behind diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)—an initiative designed to help organizations bring more voices and perspectives to their culture and operations. By involving everyone at work, regardless of their background or appearance, companies can better adapt to change and grow into the future.

DEI statements are an essential piece for declaring—in writing—an organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. They set the tone for workplace culture and open a conversation about respecting diverse groups of people.

Let’s discuss what makes for a great DEI statement and how to create your own.

Why Do You Need a DEI Statement?

It’s not an exaggeration to say mission statements are overused to the point of irrelevance. For example, no one remembered United Airlines’ goal to “transform air travel” when they saw its flight staff hit a 69-year-old doctor’s head against an armrest while dragging him off an overbooked plane. The company’s actions spoke louder than their words.

Official slogans and brand statements often feel sterile, cold, and worthless. Companies run entirely by men publish lavish gender equity statements. Multinationals using child slavery offer heartfelt promises about the dignity of work. News of terminated whistleblowers is followed by press releases emphasizing the importance of inclusive workplace culture.

Frustrating as their hypocrisy may be, people still pay attention to an organization’s mission statement. It’s essential to take it seriously.

Effective diversity statements can set an organization apart by emphasizing its desire to protect the interests of its employees and community. They promise employees that they’ll have an equal chance to prove themselves, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, or another outward trait.

Just like United Airlines, actions speak louder than words regarding DEI efforts. Companies that succeed at DEI tend to show related signs, including:

  • Diverse leadership: Individuals from different backgrounds and experiences bring unique perspectives to guiding the organization
  • Balanced workforce demographics: The workforce mirrors the diversity of the communities they serve, helping employees feel valued and respected
  • Celebration of different cultures: Different cultures and traditions have a place at work, fostering a sense of belonging among employees
  • More creativity and innovation: Companies tap into a broader range of perspectives and ideas, leading to better problem-solving and decision-making
  • Higher engagement and retention: Greater employee satisfaction, retention, and organizational success

Keep these end goals in mind when crafting a DEI statement. An actual, genuine application of inclusive policies offers substantial benefits. Don’t just tick boxes—plan for an inclusive environment that celebrates—not just tolerates—all cultures and backgrounds.

What Are Stakeholders and Why Do They Matter?

DEI is sometimes (falsely) compared to affirmative action: a meaningless gesture involving little more than diversity hires. A company needs to fill its quota of non-white male employees, so they hire people based solely on their diverse status.

This is incorrect, of course—companies don’t hire unqualified people simply to fill a quota—but the root of the misunderstanding comes from not knowing how companies work.

Stakeholders, or people whose lives affect a company’s actions, comprise companies. They can range from leadership positions all the way down to communities near company offices.

For example, schools, where employees’ children are taught, can be stakeholders, which is why some DEI efforts include mentorship programs for local youth. Nonprofits sponsored by a company can also be stakeholders.

DEI goals affect all stakeholders because DEI is all about creating a more just and inclusive world. Wherever and whenever an organization has an impact on the world around it, that impact should be a good one (social justice is another way to describe it).

Basically, your DEI statement should reflect a genuine concern for making the world a better place in some measurable way.

What Are Some DEI Statement Examples?

Let’s look at some real-life DEI statements from organizations you’ve heard of (accessed as of April 2024).

Best Buy

“Best Buy’s purpose is to enrich lives through technology, and we know we can’t do that without an inclusive culture and diverse employees who reflect our customers. We also aim to positively impact our communities by providing access to needy teens and college scholarships for diverse students.”

CVS Health

“At CVS Health, we’re deeply committed to the work we’re doing to develop a diverse workforce and provide an equitable workplace that empowers all colleagues, regardless of their age, ethnicity, and background.”

General Motors

GM is committed to building a culture and team that looks like who we serve. Our company is stronger when we are shaped by diverse backgrounds.”

Each of these statements provides a glimpse into why the company seeks to drive diversity, usually pointing to the strength that comes from having more perspectives. (By the way, the CEOs of all three companies quoted above are women.)

While these DEI statements are brief, they highlight a few key promises:

  1. Commitment to diversity: The companies value and embrace differences among people, amplifying diverse voices to ensure they are heard
  2. Inclusive culture: Everyone who works there is to feel welcome and respected, regardless of their background or identity
  3. Equal opportunities: Everyone should have a fair chance to succeed
  4. Innovation and growth: Because diversity drives innovation and development, having a diverse workforce leads to better ideas and outcomes
  5. Respect and empowerment: They value and empower their employees to contribute unique perspectives and talents
  6. Continuous improvement: They are committed to ongoing efforts to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion within their organization

All DEI statements should touch on these points. As you craft yours, brainstorm how your organization plans to approach DEI.

How to Write a DEI Statement

Real commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion hinges on action, so a DEI statement should reflect action beyond mere commitment.

Will your organization sponsor employee resource groups for LGBTQ+ communities?

Does your accounting team check for gender pay disparities?

Will you overhaul your hiring practices to prevent racial bias?

These are just a few initiatives companies explore when developing their DEI strategy. They are big goals that can take years to get rolling, but they have an undeniable impact when they work.

What would a perfectly inclusive world look like to you? What stands in the way of that world becoming a reality, such as systemic inequality? How could you tackle those obstacles, even at a small level?

Consider these points as you begin:

  1. Identify your goals: Whether it’s creating equal opportunities, driving inclusivity, or standing up for underrepresented groups, state what it is that you want to accomplish
  2. Be authentic: Think about experiences from your personal life that shaped your view of diversity and inclusion
  3. Outline steps: Consider what it will take to achieve your vision of a more inclusive world, such as volunteering, undergoing training, or advocating for policy changes
  4. Be clear: Don’t use jargon, cliché, or overly complex language in your DEI commitment
  5. Ask for feedback: Get input from colleagues, friends, and mentors, and use collaborators to dream up fresh ideas
  6. Keep revising: The aims of DEI can change as society adapts, so keep updating your statement to reflect changes in your personal and professional circumstances

One challenge to writing an inclusion statement is being both specific and general at the same time. You’re talking about a subset of workplace culture while also addressing its importance to humankind. It’ll take some time, but the process will tell you a lot about yourself.

How Good Is Your Diversity Statement?

Did you feel anything when you read the corporate diversity statements from earlier? If so, that’s a good barometer for how effective yours should be.

It takes work to write a good DEI statement. You only have a few sentences to make an impact, and the impact has to be poetic enough that readers pick up what you’re putting down. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be perfect, just clear.

Use this checklist to evaluate whether your DEI statement is effective:

  1. Clarity and specificity: Does your statement clearly outline goals, values, and initiatives related to DEI?
  2. Alignment with core values: Mission statements should inform DEI strategy, so make sure your DEI statement calls back to your organizational mission
  3. Measurable commitments: Are you committing to something real and doable or just to an idea?
  4. Inclusivity and representation: Diversity statements need to emphasize the importance of bringing inclusivity and representation to all levels of an organization, especially as it concerns underrepresented groups and marginalized communities
  5. Transparency and accountability: Does your diversity statement include ways to track progress and hold leadership accountable for advancing diversity and inclusion?
  6. Accessibility and engagement: Does your diversity statement apply to all stakeholders, including employees, customers, partners, and community members?
  7. Continual improvement: Your DEI efforts should be regularly reviewed, updated, and revised as your organization’s priorities, challenges, and opportunities change

Remember, stakeholders can range from the board room down to your CFO’s kid’s soccer team. Your DEI statement should clearly lay out how your organization can have a positive impact and apply this intent to all aspects of your operations and culture.

How Can a Company Effectively Implement its DEI Statement in its Culture and Operations?

Here it is: the golden question. How does one do DEI right? It’s a question that consulting firms like Deloitte and McKinsey charge big bucks to answer, and that’s because the answer is different for every company.

First off, the most important thing is to try your best. Some people may view DEI with skepticism due to perceiving more talk and posturing than action. However, the only way to show that DEI isn’t just some fad is to make a difference in lives.

DEI is, like any other business strategy, one that requires planning, effort, and accountability.


Use your DEI statement as a starting point for what you want to see over the next year or two. Ask what the ideal workplace looks like regarding diversity and inclusion, and make reasonable goals for how to get there. Frame goals in ways that can be reported, such as “create employee resource groups for employees with physical disabilities or “hold competency training on gender identity. You’ll have something to work toward and be proud of if you can accomplish it.


Set aside time for DEI. You can’t mine it in the background like cryptocurrency—you must actively devote time and energy to journeying down the path you plotted out during planning. If you need to delegate, entrust the task to enthusiastic individuals you trust.


Measure progress and ask for honest input from people outside your leadership team. Survey individuals impacted by your DEI initiatives to determine if they have experienced positive changes. If not, ask how to do better. It’s never easy to hear that your best isn’t working well, but that’s where growth happens.

It’s a fact: companies that emphasize inclusion perform better. Prioritizing the well-being of your team members and the community pays dividends because people do their best work when they feel valued. A nice bonus is that work becomes a more pleasant place to be.