Diversity Surveys

A full D&I survey helps organisations understand what is driving your score for D&I, and how your responses vary by demographic. Survey questions cover various aspects of Diversity and Inclusion, to provide results you can act on and compare progress against.

D&I survey questions are based on robust evidence and research into various aspects of D&I including:

  • What makes a comfortable place for someone to work?
  • Which behaviours make people feel included?
  • How do you build a safe and inclusive culture?
  • Which leadership behaviours do people need to see to believe in an inclusive culture?

Diversity and Inclusion survey design

Our expert review of Diversity and Inclusion informed a set of 30 quantitative questions, developed by People Insight with input from Tali Shlomo, Diversity & Inclusion and Wellbeing thought leader.

Within the D&I survey, questions cover the following themes which are proven to impact on how employees experience their workplace culture:

  1. Diversity
  2. Inclusion
  3. Fairness, Equality, Respect
  4. Development & Reward
  5. Leadership

When you review your survey results, these themes will help you highlight priority areas for action.

People Insight’s question-set also includes 3 ‘output questions’. Your scores for these give an overall measure of how inclusive your organisation is. This is a useful benchmark for reporting and measuring progress against.

An example output question:

“People with backgrounds like mine are able to succeed here”

Using open-text questions to measure D&I

To provide space for employee comments and suggestions, we recommend including 1-2 open-text questions in your D&I survey. For example, you might ask: ‘What would make this organisation more inclusive of people of all backgrounds?’

People Insight’s D&I question-set has been standardised against the following best-practice principles:

  • Are the questions actionable? I.e. will the survey responses provide organisations with clear areas to act on and improve their score?
  • Does each question only measure one thing? I.e. will the questions provide clear and distinct responses for analysis
  • Face validity I.e. does each question measure what it’s supposed to measure?

How many questions should be in a diversity and inclusion survey?

We recommend including all 32 questions from our D&I question-set in your survey. A D&I survey based on these should take 5-10 minutes to complete.

These questions give a full, comprehensive view of how inclusive your organisation is. They provide robust data you can compare progress against and identify actions to take to improve your scores.

Importantly, these questions also allow you to analyse responses by your chosen demographic groups. This will help you understand how the employee experience differs between employees.

Diversity and Inclusion survey: pitfalls to avoid  

  • Inaccurate demographic data. Analysing your survey results in the context of demographic data is vital. You must have a way of capturing accurate demographic data before planning your Diversity & Inclusion survey. Most organisations choose to use the 9 protected characteristics, but you can also include other demographic groups.
  • Unclear or insincere communication. Plan your survey comms with care. Anything that comes across as a ‘tickbox’ exercise will put people off. Demonstrate your commitment to listening and acting on employee feedback. Involve leadership in authentic comms to announce your survey and share why it is important to the organisation.
  • A resistance to your results. D&I survey results often highlight issue areas within your organisation or present an alternative view of your culture. As a leader it can be difficult to hear this feedback from employees. We can be prone to justifying or explaining away feedback. However, it’s important to approach your Diversity and Inclusion survey results with an open attitude and a willingness to accept the results for what they are. 
  • Not bringing people with you. When introducing a D&I survey to your organisation, it can be a challenge to get everybody on board. Sometimes D&I initiatives can reinforce the feeling that people are being excluded. Overcome this by ensuring you have authentic comms, a visible leadership presence and line manager involvement.

Start planning your Diversity and Inclusion survey today 

People Insight help organisations of all sizes and sectors measure D&I and use the insights to create a more inclusive workplace.

Fast and flexible D&I surveys

  • Real time actionable survey results in our easy to use dashboard so your organisation can rapidly respond to feedback.

Pivot between all your survey insights in one platform

  • Assess your organisation’s health effortlessly including Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion, Managing Change, Wellbeing or other ad hoc surveys – all in one place.

There are many organizations that are just getting started on their workplace diversity and inclusion journey and here at Culture Amp, we want to be able to meet you where you’re at. To that end, we’re sharing the five most insightful questions from our D&I Survey that you should consider integrating into your engagement survey — and why:

  • I feel like I belong at [company]
  • I can voice a contrary opinion without fear of negative consequences
  • Perspectives like mine are included in decision making
  • My company believes that people can greatly improve their talents and abilities
  • Administrative tasks that don’t have a specific owner are fairly divided

I feel like I belong at [company]

As we started collecting tens of thousands of survey responses from the D&I Survey template, one thing became immediately clear – belonging matters. Belonging consistently shows up as a high driver for engagement in our global D&I benchmark across all industries and sizes; this means that belonging has a high correlation to business outcomes like productivity and retention.

The benchmark score for this question is 80%; that is, 80% of your workforce should agree or strongly agree to this question. But, most importantly, you want to minimize the difference between demographic groups. Pay special attention to Women of Color and LGBTQ women; they often score 10-15% lower than the highest scoring group (Straight White Men).

I can voice a contrary opinion without fear of negative consequences

Diverse and balanced teams produce better results; but how? When members from different backgrounds share their opinions in a healthy debate, the best option to move forward is chosen. If you have a diverse team but team members are afraid to voice a contrary opinion – then all that work to create diversity will not produce the results you intended. Diversity works if all team members can share their opinion without fear of negative consequences.

The benchmark score for this question is 70%. But again – pay special attention to groups that are numerically underrepresented or face stereotype threat in organizations – those challenges make it harder to speak up. This visualization from our 2018 Diversity, Inclusion and Intersectionality Report shows the favorability scores within our global benchmark. While 78% of White Men feel they can voice a contrary opinion, only 56% of Black Women agree with this statement: 

Perspectives like mine are included in decision making

Most leadership teams are not a complete representation of the employee base, particularly when it comes to visible diversity like gender and race/ethnicity. However, as long as employees feel that perspectives like theirs are included in decision making, they will likely feel a strong sense of inclusion. When decisions are made with the support of underrepresented people, a stronger sense of inclusion will result in higher engagement and retention.

The benchmark score for this question is 60%, but beware – massive differences between demographic groups can work against your efforts to create an inclusive culture. When seeking to make important decisions, make sure to leverage the voices and perspectives of a diverse group; ideally, one that matches the customers you serve.

My company believes that people can greatly improve their talents and abilities

If you want to retain all types of talent, you’ll want to communicate a Growth Mindset to employees; that you believe they have the ability and potential to grow; not that their skills are forever fixed at their current level. This question was adapted from Carol Dweck’s research in the growth mindset and has proved to be an effective question at determining a company’s growth mindset.

The benchmark score for this question is 82%. If you want to improve your score in this construct, consider what messages you are communicating to your employees about performance and feedback. Have you de-coupled performance conversations from feedback/development? How frequent are your feedback cycles? Evaluate these practices if you score below benchmark.

Administrative tasks that don’t have a specific owner are fairly divided

Part of an inclusive culture is minimizing microaggressions – but any question that directly asks about “microaggressions” verbatim is going to trigger your respondents. Rather than ask directly about microaggressions, this question asks something that is personally relevant and easy to search your memory for a response as administrative tasks are part of daily work. It’s also a question that is immediately actionable.

The benchmark score is low on this one: 56%. If you’re thinking “only 56%? We would definitely score higher than that!” – then I encourage you to include this in your next engagement survey. The results might surprise you!

Why you should use survey questions to measure your progress on diversity and inclusion

Demographic representation is an important People metric that every company should collect; not only for compliance purposes but to understand the extent to which an organization’s collective lived experiences are shared by the communities in which they work and serve.

Demographic representation, however, is an incomplete D&I metric. Simply counting the number of women and underrepresented minorities does not ensure you have an inclusive experience; comparing the favorability scores between intersectional groups is a better way to measure organizational equity.

Your engagement survey gives every employee an opportunity to confidentially share their sentiments regarding their own employee experience. Consider implementing these questions in your next engagement survey.