Equal opportunity employer statements are a common part of most recruitment ads you see online today. They're often tagged onto the bottom of the job posting to show the reader that this company values diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunity.
EOE statements are considered a best practice in the recruitment field and are also a legal requirement in many countries. Done well, these statements allow you to state that your company stands for equal opportunity, explain how you encourage diversity in your hiring process, and detail what you do daily to ensure that it continues.
This level of detail requires more thought and text than is usually seen in the equal opportunity employer statements included in job postings. That's because EOE statements need to be part of a much broader and more comprehensive diversity and inclusion mandate.
In this article, we're going to examine why you should create a detailed equal opportunity employer statement, share key considerations, and what to include. We'll walk you through how your organization can live these words every day.
Why create an equal opportunity employer statement?
Equal opportunity employer statements are important for a variety of different reasons, but the most significant are the legal requirements that they address.
In most countries, companies are often mandated by law to include some sort of EOE statement on the job posts to indicate that they do not and will not discriminate based on:
- Sexual orientation
- National origin
The list above is not comprehensive. You should check with your local employment laws to see what characteristics are protected by equal opportunity laws, and what you'll need to include in job postings.
In addition to addressing legal requirements, equal opportunity employer statements also help you position and market your company as one that prides itself on diversity and inclusion.
A well crafted EOE statement shows that you value and actively encourage diversity and inclusion at your organization, and have the processes and culture to support that claim. This signals to potential candidates - and current employees - that they can be themselves when they work for your company, without fear of discrimination.
Because of this, applicants usually look favorably at EOE statements and appreciate those that go beyond the boilerplate copy required on job postings.
You can also think of EOE statements as an employer marketing opportunity. Using language that clearly states your commitment to diversity and inclusion - and what you're doing to guarantee and sustain that daily - you are establishing this value as part of your employer identity.
When you consider that 67% of job seekers consider diversity to be an important factor when reviewing a company and that more than 50% of current employees want their workplaces to be more inclusive, you can see why it's important to communicate your values and processes to potential candidates clearly.
Considerations when creating an EOE statement
Writing an EOE can, of course, be a challenge. It's a body of text that aims to communicate your values as an organization, the steps you take, and policies you have in place to ensure equal opportunity, and it must meet regional legal requirements. And, this all should be done using language that appeals to your target candidates and current employees.
To help you tackle this challenging piece of writing, we've put together a list of key considerations to keep in mind when crafting your equal opportunity employer statement. Later in the article, we'll make specific suggestions for what to include in your EOE statement.
- It must be truthful. Candidates and employees will quickly see if you do not live up to the promises in your EOE statement, which can negatively impact your employer brand. If your hiring processes or workplace culture don't match what you say in your EOE statement, then it might be time to rethink your internal processes.
- Know the law. Consult a lawyer to help ensure that you're covering all legal requirements in your equal opportunity employer statement. Understand exactly what you need to include and the language you need to use in each major region you hire.
- Use neutral language. Language that is overly aggressive, or uses words that might alienate certain segments of the population, will undermine the values that you're claiming in your EOE statement. Use tools like Textio to identify problematic wording, and edit your text to appeal to a more neutral audience.
- Choose the right length. EOE statements should be long enough to convey all of the relevant information and values you're trying to communicate. Your core EOE statement should be as detailed as possible, while still being readable. Create shorter, summary versions to include on job postings with a link back to your main statement page.
- Explain what the EOE statement applies to. Does your EOE statement only apply to hiring? Or do you also take the same approach with promotions, terminations, layoffs, training, and raises? Clearly communicate how and when these values and policies will be applied in the workplace.
- Be concise. Don't beat around the bush too much with your statement. Clearly identify yourself as an equal opportunity employer, and explain what that means to you.
- Explain your vision. In addition to the legal requirements, and the list of characteristics that you do not discriminate against, you should also take the time to explain the workplace you are trying to create. Share your vision for diversity and inclusion, and how you're working towards it.
This list above can be used to guide the general structure, tone, and details you include in your equal opportunity employer statement.
In the next section, we'll dig a bit deeper into specific information you'll want to include in the EOE statement to ensure that you're covering all of your bases.
What to include in your equal opportunity employer statement
As mentioned before, it's not enough to state that you're an equal opportunity employer and then not elaborate on what that actually means to you. The best EOE statements act like a written declaration that the organization adopts as part of their daily operations and culture.
This depth of information will help you create a unique EOE that speaks to your organization's values and shows candidates and employees that you back up your words on diversity and inclusion with real action.
Here are some elements to include in your EOE statement to accomplish this goal:
- State your company position, and how you live it.
- Explain that hiring decisions are made based on the company's strategic needs, rather than on the candidate's personal characteristics or demographics.
- Include specific language about your anti-harassment policies and anti-discrimination, and how you ensure that employees adhere to them.
- Explain the policies and processes you have in place to ensure diversity and inclusion in all elements of your business.
- Include contact details that candidates and employees can use to request accommodations during interviews and on the job.
- Showcase your personality, values, and culture, and explain how that contributes to an inclusive and diverse workplace.
- Detail any training you have in place for diversity and inclusion.
A common theme in this article is that words alone aren't enough to ensure diversity and inclusion in your hiring and in the workplace. Fancy equal opportunity employer statements alone do not ensure that everyone feels welcome and supported at your organization.
Therefore, you must live the values you state in your EOE on a daily basis. We'll explain some ways to do that in the next section.
How to live your EOE statement
Living your EOE statement means communicating what you expect from employees, and giving them the training, tools, and work environment they need to nurture an inclusive culture. It also means that all departments within your company - not just HR - need to implement processes and policies that will help to ensure your EOE standards are continuously met.
Here are some ways that you can ensure your equal opportunity employer statement is a daily reality at your company:
- Know what it means to be an equal opportunity employer. Take a look at what other companies are doing to ensure a diverse and inclusive workforce. What are they saying, and what policies do they have in place to keep themselves accountable? Model your own EOE statement and policies after companies that you admire.
- Implement diversity training and processes. Bring in outside resources to help develop training modules that educate employees and recruiters on diversity and inclusivity. Make these modules part of the onboarding and professional development process, and track completion metrics.
- Encourage blind hiring. Leverage your ATS to conceal information that might reveal specific demographic traits about candidates. This will help eliminate unconscious bias in the screening process that might hinder your EOE statement's goals.
- Use structured interviews. Like blind hiring, structured interviews help to reduce the impact of personal biases in the screening and hiring process. Recruiters use a specific set of questions that they ask of each candidate, in the same order. They then use a standardized scorecard to evaluate and compare answers objectively.
- Implement bias training. Identifying conscious and unconscious hiring biases is an important skill for your recruiters and hiring managers. Hold workshops that teach your hiring teams how to identify their own biases and overcome them.
- Showcase your EOE internally and externally. Equal opportunity employer statements shouldn't just be a part of your external messaging to candidates. They should also be communicated internally to be aware of the policies and values that you collectively hold as an organization.
- Provide communications channels for all employees. Lastly, employees should feel supported and heard if they have concerns about potential discrimination or harassment. Make sure you have the proper communications channels set up that employees can use to voice their concerns. Tell employees who they should get in touch with, and what the process will be.
Now that we've addressed why EOE statements are important, and what to include in them, let's take a look at some equal opportunity employer statement samples from a few well-known companies.
Equal opportunity employer statement samples
Here are some examples of equal opportunity employer statements from Dell, HubSpot, Google, and Survey Monkey. As you can see, each statement takes a unique approach to showcase a commitment to diversity and inclusion.
For example, Dell provides significant details about how they make their hiring decisions and provides a long and detailed list of protected characteristics. This is a great example of a company taking the time to provide a comprehensive mandate for what they will do to ensure an equal opportunity workforce.
Here's the full text from Dell:
"Dell is an Equal Opportunity Employer and Prohibits Discrimination and Harassment of Any Kind: Dell is committed to equal employment opportunity for all employees and providing employees with a work environment free of discrimination and harassment. All employment decisions at Dell are based on business needs, job requirements and individual qualifications, without regard to race, color, religion or belief, national, social or ethnic origin, sex (including pregnancy), age, physical, mental or sensory disability, HIV Status, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, marital, civil union or domestic partnership status, past or present military service, family medical history or genetic information, family or parental status, or any other status protected by the laws or regulations in the locations where we operate. Dell will not tolerate discrimination or harassment based on any of these characteristics."
Hubspot takes a bit of a different approach and uses its EOE statement as an employer branding asset that showcases its values and goals. This statement doesn't go into the same granular details as Dell's, but it hits the ball out of the park for vision and employer messaging.
Here's the full text from HubSpot:
"However you identify or whatever your path here, please apply if you see a position that makes your heart skip a beat. Come join us and help us build a global company where we're all proud to belong.Confidence can sometimes hold us back from applying for a job. But we'll let you in on a secret: there's no such thing as a 'perfect' candidate. HubSpot is a place where everyone can grow. So, however, you identify, and whatever background you bring with you, please apply if this is a role that would make you excited to come into work every day."
Two samples from Google and SurveyMonkey both offer a short but powerful statement about diversity and inclusion. These two EOE samples are likely included at the bottom of recruitment ads, and eloquently state the companies' commitment to and celebration of diversity and inclusion.
Here's the full text from Google:
"At Google, we don't just accept difference — we celebrate it, we support it, and we thrive on it for the benefit of our employees, our products, and our community. Google is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace and is an affirmative action employer."
And here's the full text from SurveyMonkey:
"SurveyMonkey is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees."
However, you decide to position your company, and craft your messaging, what's important is that you believe and live your diversity and inclusion mandate daily. EOE statements may be a legal requirement, but these values are also at the core of what makes great companies thrive and succeed.