Today, 94% of employers say their organization has made a recent commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.
But how do you measure success toward this commitment? A great starting point is to ask your employees for their input.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion survey questions can help you tease out how your workforce feels about your company culture.
Read ahead for DEI survey tips and sample questions to get you started.
Table of Contents
- What is diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)?
- How to Create a DEI Survey
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Survey Questions
What is diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)?
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a set of values that defines a business' ability to create a safe and equitable workplace for all employees regardless of background.
Let's break down the three terms even further:
- Diversity means that there is widespread representation of people with different backgrounds (race, age, gender, etc.) within an organization.
- Equity means fair and impartial treatment for everyone. At work, employees have access to all of the same opportunities and are held under the same standards.
- Inclusion means creating a welcome environment at work where employees are empowered to participate equally.
The concept of DEI continues to evolve, and many organizations have also started recognizing "belonging" as part of their DEI(B) efforts.
Belonging is the outcome of diversity, equity, and inclusion. It's the feeling of comfort, connection, and acceptance.
The Impact of DEI
The quality of your DEI initiatives can make or break employee acquisition and retention.
Research shows that 76% of employees and job seekers consider diversity at work an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers.
DEI also gives you a competitive advantage.
Companies who foster diverse and inclusive workplaces are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors.
It's important for organizations to make an ongoing investment in DEI in order to attract top talent. It's good for business.
How to Create a DEI Survey
- Map it back to your organization's DEI objectives.
- Ask the right questions.
- Keep your survey optional and anonymous.
When developing your DEI survey, be sure to keep the general best practices for creating a survey in mind.
That said, here are three tips to create an effective workplace diversity questionnaire.
Map it back to your organization's DEI objectives.
Your survey should be a direct reflection of your overarching DEI goals.
For example, one of your goals may be to increase racial and gender representation across all organization levels.
Make sure there's a clear way to use your survey results to measure progress against what you're trying to achieve.
Ask the right questions.
Pay close attention to the wording and the format of your questions. Also, consider how the questions may be perceived by your audience.
For example, asking employees "Is our company diverse?" as a yes or no question forces participants into an answer. Plus, it doesn't really give them a chance to voice their opinions.
Instead, you could rework that question to include a rating-scale (e.g., On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate diversity at our company?), and follow up with an open-ended question that asks why that rating was selected.
Keep your survey optional and anonymous.
Research shows that 71% of employees would be more likely to share their experiences and opinions on diversity and inclusion at work if they could do so anonymously.
Your survey shouldn't focus on who is saying what, and people shouldn't feel forced to take it.
You'll get more genuine responses if people feel like they can answer honestly while keeping their identity private.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Survey Questions
We've compiled a list of 24 diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging survey questions for employees.
You can review the questions in order below or jump around:
- Diversity Survey Questions
- Equity Survey Questions
- Inclusion Survey Questions
- Belonging Survey Questions
Diversity Survey Questions
1. On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate diversity at our company?
Why this works: This is a great starter question that allows participants to quantify how successful your diversity efforts are as a whole.
2. Do you feel our company encourages diverse perspectives and ideas?
Why this works: If the answer is no, this tells you exactly where you need to focus your efforts (e.g., creating a forum for new ideas, additional DEI training for team leads, etc.).
3. To what extent do you feel you can relate to members of the executive team?
Why this works: This helps you understand if your employees can see themselves as part of leadership one day. Huge implications for retention and growth.
4. Rate on a scale of strongly agree to strongly disagree: Our organization hires people from all backgrounds.
Why this works: Even if your organization is setting diversity hiring goals, you'll be able to see whether or not your employees actually see this reflected within their teams.
5. How comfortable are you discussing your social or cultural beliefs in the workplace?
Why this works: A big part of diversity is authenticity. If people aren't comfortable talking about their backgrounds, this is an indicator that something needs to change.
6. What steps can we take to create a more diverse culture at our company?
Why this works: This question is actionable and gives participants the opportunity to tell you what they really want to see out of your DEI work.
Equity Survey Questions
1. Do you feel you have the same opportunities for advancement as your colleagues?
Why this works: Equity means that growth opportunities are available for everyone. This question tells you how employees feel compared to their peers in this area.
2. Rate on a scale of strongly agree to strongly disagree: Our company treats all employees fairly.
Why this works: Fair and just treatment is another key element of workplace equity. If employees disagree with this question, this is an easy red flag.
3. Have you ever noticed favoritism in the workplace? If so, please explain.
Why this works: Favoritism is the antithesis of equity. If this is happening at your company, this will allow you to capture real examples for further investigation.
4. Rank these equity initiatives based on how important they are to you.
Why this works: Employee rankings will give you direct feedback on your equity processes and program, and help you prioritize your efforts.
5. Does your supervisor show a commitment to workplace equity?
Why this works: The supervisor/direct report relationship is crucial. This can help you determine whether your people managers need additional equity training or support.
6. What else can we do to promote equity across the company?
Why this works: This is another actionable question that gives employees space to make suggestions based on their experiences with equity at work.
Inclusion Survey Questions
1. To what extent are you able to bring your full self to work each day?
Why this works: Inclusion means being comfortable showing your authentic self at work. If the responses indicate that this isn't the case, it's clear you have some work to do.
2. Have you ever felt left out or excluded from certain activities in the workplace?
Why this works: If people feel excluded, they're less likely to engage. The results of this question can help you proactively re-engage employees before they churn.
3. Rate on a scale of strongly agree to strongly disagree: I feel included in the decisions that impact the business.
Why this works: Feeling like you bring value to the business at large is another form of inclusion. This question tells you if employees feel like their day-to-day work matters.
4. How comfortable are you with voicing your opinions and concerns at work?
Why this works: This will help you gauge how confident employees are about sharing feedback and identifying problems in the workplace.
5. On a scale of 1-5, how strongly do you think our company values inclusivity?
Why this works: If your company values inclusivity, it's important to practice what you preach. This will let you know if your employees think you're doing a good job.
6. Would you recommend this company as an inclusive place to work?
Why this works: If your employees answer yes to this question, this speaks volumes. Why? Because they would be willing to encourage their peers to join your work environment.
Belonging Survey Questions
1. To what extent do your personal values align with the values of our organization?
Why this works: If employees don't feel like your values align, this could be an indicator that your DEI efforts aren't creating the outcome you anticipated.
2. Do you feel a sense of ownership over your work?
Why this works: If employees feel like they own the work they do, they'll be more empowered to make decisions and bring creative ideas to the table.
3. Rate on a scale of strongly agree to strongly disagree: I can depend on my coworkers.
Why this works: A good sense of belonging gives employees the confidence to build relationships. And dependability means they're comfortable confiding in their peers.
4. Do you feel like you belong at this company?
Why this works: This question is straightforward and to the point. It essentially tells you whether your employees feel like they should be working for you.
5. Rate on a scale of strongly agree to strongly disagree: Our company's mission inspires me to do my best work.
Why this works: Similar to value alignment, this question gives you insight into how connected employees feel to what you're trying to accomplish as an organization.
6. Can you see yourself working for this company in the next two years?
Why this works: A good indicator of belonging is that your employees want to stick around long term. If most participants say yes, that's a win.
Get the Most Out of Your Next DEI Survey
DEI is in the spotlight, and the need for these initiatives will only continue to grow.
Your employees invest their time and energy in making your business a success. So you should go out of your way to create an environment where they feel safe, seen, and heard.
How? It's easier said than done, but asking them for feedback is the perfect place to start.