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Equal Opportunity Employer Statement Do’s and Don'ts 

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Written by

Kerry Wang

CEO, Co-Founder

Published

September 11, 2020 4:16 PM

Categories

Best Practices

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Diversity has been a trending topic for years, which is proof enough that there isn't enough of it in the workplace. Diversity is critical to a company's ability to support growth and innovation. Demonstrating your commitment to inclusive business practices requires, in part, an Equal Opportunity Employer statement.

An Equal Employer Opportunity (EEO) statement is a company's commitment to transparent, non-discriminatory employment. Even if mandatory hiring practices are outlined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), they should be worded to reflect the work environment.

When well-written, the EEO statement has the potential to attract diverse job applicants that create better teams. In this article, you'll learn what Equal Opportunity Employment looks like, see some do’s and don'ts for writing an EEO statement, and review companies that have done it right.

What Is Equal Opportunity Employment?

The term “equal opportunity” recognizes an attempt to reduce biased hiring decisions or discrimination. 

Categories of discrimination when making employment decisions can include:

— Sex or gender identity

— Mental disability or physical disability

— Religion

— Age

— National origin or ethnicity

— Sexual orientation

— Marital status

— Veteran status

— Parental status

What Is an Equal Opportunity Employer Statement?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requires that every American employer include an EEO in their job postings. You must include the words “(Company X) is an Equal Opportunity Employer” followed by a policy statement that details non-discriminatory practices. 

Since the EEO statement is a government-regulated requirement, it can seemingly lose some of the sentiment and authenticity without the personalized policy statement.

The purpose of an Equal Opportunity Employer statement is to prevent hiring managers or human resources from selecting candidates based on their personal biases or preferences. It aims to support hiring practices where candidates are selected for roles according to their suitability for the business needs.

Dos and Don’ts of Writing an Equal Opportunity Employer Statement

Your EEO statement needs to be authentic and reflective of more than just hiring decisions within the company. Other aspects of employment like promotions and compensation should also be supported by affirmative action. Here's a list of ways you can align your EEO statement to your company culture and attract a healthy diversity of talent.

Do: Be Authentic

If you're creating a checklist that makes you appear sophisticated on paper but doesn't truly reflect your company values, it won't be long before candidates discover the truth. 

Harvard Business Review reported on three studies that examined the effect of “resume whitening” on candidate eligibility. In each study, when people of color selectively erased components of their resume to make them sound like a white candidate, it was proven that they advanced more easily over candidates who submitted applications without modifications. 

Perhaps most notably, it was stated that "the discrimination against unwhitened resumes was no smaller for purportedly pro-diversity employers than for employers that didn’t mention diversity in their job ad."

In other words, candidates who submitted to companies promoting diversity and inclusion were rejected over those who appeared more white on paper. What was advertised on the job posting did not reflect the goals of the organization or their values accurately.

Don't: Ignore Unconscious Bias

The first step to improving a system or method is to recognize the pitfalls. We are human and we have a great deal of unconscious bias that can affect our ability to hire. 

By investing in automation tools and platforms like Searchlight, you can take a progressive step forward that goes beyond statements and creates actionable insights that create lasting improvements. 

Searchlight counteracts prestige bias by automating and streamlining the referencing process. It relies on aggregate data that is provided by third-party resources who have firsthand work experience with candidates. New users report an 80% increase in underrepresented top performers in the first 90 days.

Mentioning the use of supportive automation tools in your EEO statement lets candidates know that investing in a diverse culture is a top priority.

Do: Provide Proof 

If your company has made strides with affirmative action, celebrate that by using factual data on the careers page. 

Statistics are more earnest than fluffy claims about being "a leader in diversity and inclusion." It's time to put your money where your mouth is and produce the reports that prove that your EEO policies listed in the statement are succeeding. 

Don't: Use Legalese

You should know and abide by the federal laws surrounding Equal Opportunity Employment but it doesn't mean you have to spell out the entire legal structure in your EEO statement. 

If there have been recent changes to legislation, by all means, acknowledge your efforts to accommodate the updates to your policy to reflect them. Just take a beat before you go full Harvey Specter. Legalese is boring to read and not super useful for potential job applicants.

3 Companies With Quality Equal Opportunity Employer Statements

Co-workers in an open concept work space

We've talked about what the Equal Opportunity Employer statement is and what to do and not to do. Now, let's look at a couple of examples to get you inspired to write your EEO statement.

HubSpot

HubSpot keeps their EEO statement simple, approachable, and supportive with their phrasing. 

"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."

HubSpot’s public annual diversity report also helps to hold them accountable for these diversity policies and goals.

SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey walks their talk by investing in partners who can help them diversify. They brought tennis icon Serena Williams onto their board to do just that, as well as Sheryl Sandberg, who is famous for encouraging more women to be at the executive table.

Their EEO statement on each job posting is in plain language and straight to the point:

“SurveyMonkey is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.”

They’ve taken it a step further by including a diversity, equity, and inclusion section on their careers page. On the page they include transparent statistics for the race and gender makeup of their team and board of directors. This page also features their goals for diversity, available employee resources, and a template for other companies to follow suit.

This type of leadership is bound to get the attention of top talent who crave meaningful action over well-worded yet empty statements.

SurveyMonkey's Equal Opportunity Employment statement

Workable

Perhaps the most direct approach taken is Workable's EEO statement. It's written in plain language that clearly states that they hire without judgment or discrimination. 

Workable's Equal Opportunity Employment statement

It reads, “Your gender, your gods, your sex life, your skin color or your bigshot uncle don’t make a difference here. If you’re smart and good at what you do, come as you are."

It’s worth mentioning that their management team, however, is composed of eight white men. It just goes to show you that when it comes to equitable hiring, there's always more work to be done. 

Enhance Your Equal Opportunity Employer Statement 

Now that we covered what Equal Opportunity Employment looks like, the do’s and don'ts for writing an EEO statement, and highlighted a few examples, it's time to craft a meaningful Equal Opportunity Employer statement of your own. 

Learn more about the benefits of diversity and actionable steps towards it to help get you started. You’ll know that you’ve done a good job when your team mirrors the amazing and wonderful mosaic of potential human experiences and you continue to include more of them as you grow.

Further Reading

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