A guide to diversity, equity and inclusion survey questions

29 Aug 21 | Blog

Responsible for building a D&I strategy? Want to create a culture of inclusion? Wondering why your diversity initiatives fail, and your ‘diverse hires’ leave? Addressing all those points starts with an assessment of D&I in your organisation right now. This article will explain why a DEI survey is the best first step, whatever your D&I goals.

Diversity audit questions or inclusion questionnaire: what do you want to know?

First things first, when it comes to running an employee survey: what do you actually want to know? Are you only measuring demographic numbers – the number of LGBTQ+ employees, for examples – or do you want to understand inclusion levels? The most useful DEI employee survey will effectively do both, allowing you to see ‘inclusion scores’ from different groups of people. That means you can identify any problem areas, and work on improving things generally. What’s the difference between diversity and inclusion? Diversity is the goal, inclusion is the method. In other words: you could have the most culturally and socially diverse workforce in the world, but it doesn’t mean everyone feels included. And if certain groups don’t feel included, they’ll leave. That means your organisation won’t be ‘diverse’ for long.

A DEI workplace survey should allow anonymous answers: how will you handle this?

It’s a sensitive topic, inclusion. You can ask people for honest feedback on whether they feel safe and accepted but if they don’t, would they feel able to tell you? That’s one reason you should allow anonymous answers. Using a generic survey link reassures people that their answers won’t be matched back to them using your employee database. Within the survey, you can still collect the demographic data you need – such as ethnicity, sex, and sexual orientation – but in a way that doesn’t expose anyone.

Inclusion survey questions: what will motivate your employees to answer honestly?

Even if you do use an anonymous survey, how can you make sure people respond honestly? That all comes down to building trust, and there are two ways to accomplish this:
    • Survey communications
Before the survey, explain why you’re asking for feedback, and reassure employees about their anonymity. After the survey, be open about the results and explain your next steps. Only by being transparent will people feel comfortable being honest.
    • Acting on the results
If you never do anything with employee feedback, people will stop bothering to give it. Quickly and calmly explain your next steps, once the survey has closed and been reviewed: whether that’s a new initiative based on a suggestion, or a leadership meeting to discuss further.

Sample diversity and inclusion survey questions: dos and don’ts

If you’re sending a D&I survey, what questions should you ask? It can be hard to get sign-off – which is why we’ve created a research-led question set for you – but here are some handy dos and don’ts: Don’t…
    • Ask only yes/no or closed-text questions: inclusion is about feelings. Quantitative measures are helpful to set a benchmark, but aren’t enough to give you the full story.
    • Demand identifiable details without reassurance: you want demographic information to get a real understanding of inclusion, but consider how much detail you need – and how it’s requested.
    • Include too many questions asking for advice: employees from minority groups often report feeling pressure to fix inclusion issues themselves, so don’t expect them to have all the answers. 
    • Ask open-text questions to gather experiences: to get a full measure of how inclusive your workplace is, ask for written feedback too – this adds context and meaning.
    • Focus on multiple areas of inclusion: inclusion is complex, and made up of various aspects – from a sense of ‘belonging’ to ‘safety’. Be mindful of covering all your bases.
    • Include questions about coworkers and leadership: don’t assume that your leadership team isn’t potentially causing inclusion issues – ask questions about experiences with them too.

How to measure inclusion, easily and accurately, using our platform

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to sending an inclusion survey, but we’ve made it easy for you. Here’s how it works:

1. Send our inclusion survey

Carefully chosen questions, based on research and industry expertise. A survey design guaranteed to result in high response rates. We’ve done the hard work for you! Just choose our Inclusion Survey, add your branding, and send it to your team.

2. See your overall score

As soon as the survey closes, your results are ready. Click into the pre-built dashboard and instantly see your overall ‘inclusion score’. You’ll also see individual scores in each of the sub-areas we focus on in our survey, so you can quickly get an understanding.

3. Look at demographic breakdowns

Do men and women score differently? Are any minority ethnic groups feeling particularly excluded? Are your LGBTQ+ employees feeling safe? Use quick filters to view results by different demographics, and get a clearer picture of inclusion at work.

4. View common themes in comments

For a big organisation, trawling through 1000s of comments takes time. Our language analysis tech identifies the most common themes in written feedback, from ‘management’ to ‘harassment’, so you know what areas need the most attention.

5. Take action and make changes

With the analysis done for you, you’ll quickly understand what needs to be done – not to mention, have an easy way of presenting results to your leadership team. WIth drag-and-drop reports, it’s easier to get backing for your new initiatives.
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